A Soccer-Specific Strength and Fitness Upper Body Workout: Brian’s First Rapid Cycle Curcuit Workout

by CoachZ on March 12, 2009

Soccer-Specific Strength and Fitness Training: Rapid Cycle Circuit for the Best Aerobic and Anaerobic Benefit, Part II

I have been training athletes from all sports for over a quarter of a century and I’ve met few individuals with the mental, and physical, toughness of Brian. Brian is one in thousands, ten thousands, and I am fortunate to have known him. I worked him as hard as he demanded, and he demanded! This is Brian’s first soccer-specific strength and fitness training program leg workout. The strength and fitness training program is a good one, it works! You are free to copy it, tweak it…or discard it. However, before you do anything, please see a qualified medical practitioner and have a thorough physical.

Again, this is a demanding program and you should be checked out before starting it. This is Part II!

Step 1: You guessed it! 20 minutes of stretching. We stretch every muscle, inside out. Biggest to smallest and upper to lower. Any good stretching program will do but we stretched the back and chest ten minutes and the shoulders and arms five minutes. Hanging is an excellent stretch, alternating one and both arms. You may also grasp a vertical pole at shoulder height, and then, with feet shoulder width apart, stretch the shoulders. The arms may be stretched by using dumbbells and a heavy bar, just letting them hang.

Step 1a: Then stretch the legs as you did before the leg workout. Legs should be stretched every day until you can palm the floor! And then some….

a) Quads, hams, calves, rolling the ankles and back up…and down again for ten minutes.
b) Back (lats, traps, lower back), chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, roll the wrists and back in…and out again for five minutes.

Note: If you stretch properly, you should be sweating already! If not, you haven’t stretched with enough intensity. Everything is done at 110%, everything!

Step 2: Yes! Once again, we begin with the Lifecycle (or other stationary bike). Depending on fitness level, anything from random 2 to random 5. Nothing more intense than that, we are warming up with it, not training for a triathlon! Of course, we tend to push it a bit more on off days, so when legs aren’t being trained directly, we increase intensity just a bit.

Step 3: Immediately after you get off the bike, no drinks, no piddling around, straight to the Lat Pullover machine (for the Latissimus Dorsi). The lat pullover is for back muscles, particularly the “lats” but it also works several other muscles. The range of motion for this exercise should be emphasized, with a complete stretch when the elbows are up over the head.

a) Set the seat so the top of your shoulder splits the side pad to the right.
b) Sit back, don’t lean forward.
c) Relax your upper body and legs completely, don’t tighten up as you do the exercise. If your forearms get tight, you are grasping the bar too hard and not doing the exercise properly. The best way to do this exercise is to drive the elbows with little or no grasping of the bar with your hands.
d) Do not hold your breath! Breathe out as you push the weight down into your lap and in as you allow the weight to go back to the starting position.
e) Don’t rock your body and never use inertia, the weight itself, to move the weight.
f) Every movement should be controlled. Up to the count of two and back down in four.
g) Up 1…2…Down to the lap…1…2…3…4…up to a full stretch. Then repeat. Slow, controlled, feel the weight. Feel the stretch, particularly under the arms where the lats tie-in.

Step 4: Get off and immediate proceed to the seated row machine. No hesitating and no stalling!

a) Sit down, face first with the chest against the pad, feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart.
b) Your butt should never, and I mean never, rise up off the seat, your chest should stay in constant contact with the surface at all times, and the hands should grasp the hand grips just enough to maintain control and not so that the forearms tighten.
c) Pull towards you 1…2…Out to a full stretch…1…2…3…4. repeat. Again, never use the weights inertia in the motion. You should feel the weight and concentrate on what you are doing.
d) Again, breathing is so important, don’t hold your breath! In, breathe in. Out, breathe out.
e) Again, as you grasp the handles, do not tighten your grip! Relax and feel the motion, concentrate, see the muscles in your mind. Feel the stretch!

Step5: Get off the machine and immediately proceed to the seated bench press.

a) Sit and make sure the handles are at mid-chest. You will do one set with the horizontal handles and one set vertical. Two sets of each, four total
b) Again, In…1…2…Out…1…2…3…4. Repeat.
c) You are dealing with small muscles, in conjunction (synergy) with larger ones, and connective tissue. So, be careful and do not use ballistic movement (don’t “bounce” the weight).
d) Give yourself 30 seconds between sets, no more! And again, rotate between horizontal and vertical hand positioning. 4 sets!

Step 6: Get off the machine and immediately proceed to the seated butterfly machine.

a) Make sure you don’t hold your breath, don’t tighten your upper body up, and don’t rock your body! You must use controlled motions or you will not get the proper effect.
b) Again, have the shoulder joint aligned with the pivot point for the butterfly motion.
c) Stretch back and then pull forward on 2. In toward the center line…1…2…Back to the full stretch start…1…2…3…4.
d) Make sure there is a full contraction at mid-line and a full stretch back. The benefit is as much in the stretch, if not more, than in the actual amount of weight used. One set, immediate after the 4 sets of benching.

Step 7: If you did the back and chest exercises properly, you should really feel it in your upper body now. Now, move right to the seated shoulder press, quickly!

a) Set the weight established during your testing. If you aren’t sure, less is better. Your shoulders will already be fairly tired, so forget ego! You can always add weight and we are not in a weightlifting contest.
b) Sit in the press, feet shoulder width apart and your upper body back against the seat (back) rest.
c) Your hands should be grasping the handles…but relax, do not squeeze them and tighten up. You are working you shoulders not your forearms!
d) Keep your head erect, don’t lean forward or back and DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH! You can, quite literally, pop a gasket, just as with the leg press! If all you do is cause a major headache, you are very lucky!
e) Again, Push up…1…2…Back down…1…2…3…4. Slow and repeat.

Step 8: If you’ve done the shoulder presses properly you should be about out of breath and lifting your arms may be a bit of a chore. That’s great! On to the tricep pushdowns.

a) Face in to the weight stack, not out! Make sure the weight is heavy enough to be a challenge but not too heavy. Again, we are training for soccer, not powerlifting! You do not want to stand over and push down the weight with your upper body, this is a tricep exercise only! It should be done to failure, until you can’t do another.
b) Elbows tight against the sides, push the weight down…1…2…back up to parallel with the floor…1…2…3…4, then right back down. Never muscle the weight! Control is most important here, feel the weight.
c) Never arch your back or lean in, and always breath. Never hold your breath. Remember…headaches!

Step 9: A set of standing dumbbell curls. Keep the weight down, hanging, then up in 2 and down in 4, then alternate. Making sure to stretch at the bottom, and now yanking of the weight! No ballistic motion, just pure, controlled effort. Do not stop in between arms! Your arms have been used in virtually every exercise, and forget about big biceps, they’ll get all the work they need without spending an hour on you arms!

Eventually we get to the point where we superset, but not until about four weeks in. There are additional exercises I do with clients that I cannot, for a variety or reasons, describe here. Primarily, it is because without the proper experience, they cannot be performed safely. They do, however, take the athlete to a whole new level in his or her training! For now, we are finished with the upper body, except to stretch and hit the Lifecylce. Eventually, we will add forearm exercises but given the specificity of the program, forearms are already engaged adequately in previous exercises.

*When doing a whole body workout, stretching is done after the entire workout. After the workout stretching is done for twenty minutes…15 and 5. Then, the Lifecycle at manual 10! For as long as you can go. Then, 2 more minutes of stretching the legs. Always stretch, more is better…but no bouncing!

Then? Collapse, shower, and bed!

As noted previously, a soccer-specific strength and fitness workout is done quickly, with as little rest between sets as possible and everything done in a controlled, concentrated fashion. Eventually, variation is integrated into the program and the intensity level increases even more. But at first, we are interested in combining aerobic benefits with an anaerobic workout. The combination produces an athlete stronger, quicker, and much more powerful. Heading, quickness, and kicking power are increased as a result of a properly integrated soccer-specific strength and fitness training program.

With the additional upper body strength, an overall improvement in form and confidence is immediately apparent.

Next? We continue on to the next phase, the whole body. This workout, upper and lower, is done in a single session usually no more than 30-35 minutes! You can see why an athlete, regardless of condition, will be fatigued, to put it mildly, when finished.

Again, do not attempt this or any other training program without a thorough physical!

Skype: johnzajaros1

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

skiniaria April 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm


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