Soccer Conditioning-Resistance Is Futile

Recently we’ve been discussing Weight training and soccer conditioning.

Without a shadow of a doubt weight training also known as Resistance training is very important and a crucial ingredient in search for that elusive contract.

The problem is this, many soccer players and coaches have not identified the importance of resistance training.

Is it a shame or a disgrace? You can decide.

Any coach or player that suggests you don’t need resistance training is pulling your leg.

Science, testing and trials clearly prove that resistance training significantly improves soccer performance.

So how does resistance training help?

Resistance training improves sprinting and your jumping ability while strengthening muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Lets break down the benefits.


  • Increases your top speed to some extent.
  • The ability to sprint over a greater distance without fading.
  • The ability to sprint in the final minutes of a match.
  • Increased acceleration and sharpness.


  • Increased vertical leap.
  • The ability to jump over players to head the ball defensively and/or offensively.
  • Key figure in set plays, free kicks and corners.
  • The ability to score goals even as a defender.

Conditioned Muscles-

  • Gives you strength and can help keep the body in proper alignment, prevent injuries and provide support and good posture.
  • The ability to perform repetitive contractions over a period of time.
  • Gives you endurance and power.

A significant benefit of resistance training that gets overlooked is the prevention of injuries. So why are so many soccer players and coaches avoiding resistance training?

Testing and research proves that resistance training should be a part of the overall training program for any player.

So what’s going on?

Could it be urban legends, gossip or even regurgitation of false information?

Could it be Chinese whispers, innuendo or mismanaged imaginations?

You better believe it!

Important- The information provided here is based on facts, science and my experience.

When a theory or a hypothesis gets proven using science and testing, the results are published in medical journals and sporting literature. Remember these are not opinions these are facts.

Does everyone agree?

Obviously not!

There are many coaches who still believe prepubescent (age 6-13) players should not participate in a resistance-training program.

Excuse me while I stop laughing.

These naïve coaches still believe that resistance training for children of this age is dangerous.

Please are we living in the millennium?

Unless you’ve been living on the moon, science has come a long way in the last 5 years, not to mention the last 5 decades.

For all those coaches resisting change or the facts, wake up. This is proven! Numerous studies have found that prepubescent’s can safely and effectively participate in structured, well-supervised resistance programs.

Strength gains occur in youngsters because of adaptations in the neuromuscular system. (Refer to Soccer Conditioning- Keep an eye on the GAS)

Does resistance training work?

I’ll let you decide.

Ajax Amsterdam FC has a very successful youth academy. They have produced superstars for decades now. This academy back in the 80’s was supplying the world of soccer with some of the biggest names. It wasn’t too long before the big clubs came knocking.

The big clubs were intrigued by the success and investigated their training methods. What they discovered was 6-13 year olds undertaking resistance training as part of their youth development program. What a surprise!

Do you know which players were the guinea pigs for this program? Lets see if any of these names ring a bell.

Patrick Kluivert

Marc Overmars

The De Boer brothers


Ed Van der Saar

Edgar Davids

Winstone Bograde

Michael Reizinger

Clarence Seedorf

Finid George

Jari Litmanan

Dennis Bergcamp

So we can safely assume it works.

So what are the guidelines?

For starters the training program must be safe, effective and structured. Supervision must be provided and emphasis placed on correct form and technique. It’s important to remember that young players are not little adults and should never be trained as adults.

  • Weight training programs designed for adults should never be used on young players.
  • Young children should not lift, push or pull more than 15 reps per minute. Exercises should be specifically designed for the individual player, not for the whole team.
  • Weights and exercises are chosen depending on the child’s strength and technique.
  • When using exercise equipment, ensure that the machines are suitable for the shorter body of the child. If not, do not use them.

Since we live in the new millennium, here’s a thought for all the pre-historic coaches that are still coaching in the stone ages.

Wait for it!

“Resistance training can be performed without weights.”

For those of you that are confused or don’t believe me, hang around for a simple resistance program.

The following program is designed to be performed on the training grounds with no equipment, so there’s no excuse.

The Ajax Academy designed this program and utilise it 3 times per week for a period of 4 weeks. After the 4-week period they discontinue this program for 1 week and then return to it again and continue the cycle.

This program is specifically designed for young players and the resistance comes from their own body weight.

Ajax Academy Resistance Program

The program is performed in a circuit fashion, completing 2 circuits each workout. Also the number of repetitions completed is cycled, so that the intensity varies each week.

Week 1- 8 repetitions

Week 2- 12 repetitions

Week 3- 12 repetitions

Week 4- 10 repetitions

Rest periods are 60 minutes during the first cycle (4 weeks-1 week rest=Cycle)

After a period of several cycles the resting period reduces to 25 seconds.

The 2 workouts consist of the following exercises.

Day 1

Bodyweight Squats

Bodyweight Side Lunges

Heel Raises (Calf presses)


Twisting Crunches

Back Extensions

Push Ups

Pull Ups

Day 2

Bodyweight Lunges

Bodyweight Step Ups

Calf Raises



Back Extensions

Narrow Push Ups

Push Ups on Knees.

Lets be honest here, who has not admired the titans of Ajax.

What youth has not dreamed of becoming a soccer star?

A piece of that puzzle is staring you in the face.

“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars.”

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  1. Lauren says:

    Hey, what’s going on? My name is Lauren… I really like your blog… and this post great, detailed tips.

    I have some ideas for future posts that I would like to share with you. Just send me an email.

    Talk soon,

    Lauren Bradley

  2. Thomas says:

    Gday Lauren, sent you an email. Hope to here from you soon.


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