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Soccer players combine speed, strength and agility to compete on the field. Ball handling, sprint work and shooting drills are typically incorporated into practices… but developing core strength may not be.

OrthoCarolina Pineville physical therapist Jillian Maguire treats many ACL and knee soccer injuries. These injuries can be caused by a lack of core strength and weakened hip and glute muscles. By strengthening core muscles, soccer players can improve performance on the field and reduce their risk of injury.

Maguire shares her favorite strength-building exercises for soccer players to incorporate into their training program.

Soccer Ball - Wall Squat

socerball wall squat for a stronger core
  1. Place your back against a wall, with your shoulders and upper back against the wall.
  2. Slowly squat down the wall walking your legs slightly forward.
  3. Place a soccer ball between your knees, squeeze and hold for 10 seconds. Keep legs parallel to the floor.
  4. Return to a standing position.
  5. Complete 2 – 3 sets.

Gliding Disc - Single-Leg Rotation

core strengthening exercise leg rotation

  1. Use a gliding disc for this exercise (a Frisbee, paper plate or furniture moving disc can substitute). Place the disc under one leg and stand tall on the other leg. Imagine a clock around you with. Slowly slide the leg with the disc forward to the top of the clock (12 position) and pull back to meet the standing leg.
  2. Next, slide the leg with the disc to the right and pull back to meet the standing leg.
  3. Continue moving around the clock. Switch directions, moving around the clock the other way. After you’ve completed a circle in each direction switch legs.
  4. Complete 2 sets on each leg.

Resistance Band - Side Step

resistance band exercises for core strength
  1. Use a theraband or theratube for this exercise. Depending on the equipment, either wrap the band around both legs slightly above your ankles or step on the band, pulling tight with your arms.
  2. Tighten your core and squat slightly.
  3. Shift your weight to one leg and take a step sideways with the other leg. Keep your hips level and try not to bounce. Walk side to side about 10 times in one direction. 
  4. Shift your weight to the other side and switch directions.
  5. Complete 2 – 3 sets.

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