Soccer-Specific Training Regimen: Light, High Rep vs Heavy, Lower Rep Training

by CoachZ on May 13, 2013

The Most Common Soccer Training Question

Do Soccer Athletes Need to Lift Weights?

In a word: Yes!

Soccer Athletes Need Strength and that Requires Strength Training!

But back to the above-mentioned question!

I’ve trained young soccer athletes using the lighter-is-better technique*:

  • Lighter weights (max established during testing)
  • Moving up at 20
  • Maxing out every workout (reps to exhaustion)

The results have been impressive!

In fact, they never plateau. Instead, they gain strength and endurance at a constant rate! Sure, there are some peaks, followed by slower result phases. That being said, the overall variation between peaks and valleys is insignificant and the gains are impressive.

I used a tape measure to measure overall body changes and had them weigh in once a month. The soccer athletes all noted significant changes in measurements after 6 months and most gained weight.

Note: Muscle takes up less room per pound. Because of the aerobic nature of the sport, and the sport-specific nature of the overall training regimen, most soccer athletes lost inches while gaining weight. Individual results varied.

When compared with a similar, sport-specific training regimen using the go heavy and max out technique*:

  • Heavier weights (max established during testing)
  • Moving up at 12 reps
  • Maxing out (reps to exhaustion)
  • Forced reps
  • Pyramiding
  • Coning
  • Negatives or the eccentric movements
  • Eccentric workouts

The differences between the lighter-is-better workout and the go heavy and max out workout were significant!*

While the former’s gains were more-or-less continuous, the latter’s, more traditional, strength training workout, were inconsistent and, overall, much slower (with plateaus, losses, and injuries). Additionally, the soccer athletes following the lighter-is-better technique  also went without injury, in the gym or on the pitch, during the testing period or afterwards.

Significantly, injuries occurred only after the lighter-is-better group stopped training…or reverted to the more traditional, strength training method!

Inspired by The New York Times Ask Well: More Repetitions vs. More Weight? 

*Results are documented and are the property of Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr. and Westside Tutoring and Testing Services, Lakewood, Ohio 44107 (216-712-7004). Only a very limited number of student-athletes are accepted annually. Acceptance is based on the results of a face-to-face interview (in person or via Skype for long distance trainees), a 90 minute consultation, and a written application.

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