How to Balance Soccer-Specific Strength and Fitness Training – Fartlek and Strength Training

Conditioning is absolutely crucial for overall fitness, as well as speed of play and final half effectiveness. Fartlek is one strategy proven to be extremely effective for soccer athletes, male and female. Soccer, football as it is commonly known elsewhere in the world, is one of the oldest team based sports on the planet. It requires a person to run a bit more than the length of an American football field (approximately 110 yards) consistently for approximately 90 minutes. It also requires dexterity, suppleness, and a presence of mind to concentrate on using feet and legs as hands and arms. It is no surprise that soccer is the most popular game in the world, and it is also no surprise that strength training and conditioning for soccer is probably more focused than other sports.

Soccer-specific strength and fitness training is crucial for success at the sports highest levels, youth or adult. Soccer players require a combination of aerobic and anaerobic fitness due to the nature of the game and the fact that there is continuous movement with lots of short bursts of more intense activity. soccerstreams69

Aerobic fitness is tied to oxygen use and anaerobic fitness is tied to work, power and strength. Soccer fitness is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic fitness with further specialization for each person’s age and position. Conditioning for soccer is not one size or one program fits all sort of endeavor. It is often necessary to concentrate on mental training and motor skills when dealing with younger soccer athletes because conditioning and speed training is not easily connected or does not have an impact on those younger than the beginning teen years, except with a very small and select group of “premier” level athletes. After puberty, strength and conditioning training can and should have a major effect, however sessions should be focused and controlled, based on the age and sex of the soccer athlete. Also remember that strength and conditioning sessions develop a better player but are not a replacement for individual foot skill, vision, and teamwork. However, when training is done consistently, over a period of months, amazing results are possible.

One form of aerobic fitness training for soccer is called Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish. Fartlek is a form of conditioning that puts stress on the aerobic energy system by keeping the athlete moving, without stopping for long periods of time. How this differs from a regular continuous running and/or circuit training is in the variation of speeds involved, variation that taxes the body and causing the individual to adapt to the strain. Fartlek sessions last approximately 45 minutes and use everything from walking to sprints. Fartlek deals with one of the most important things in soccer: speed of play. Soccer athletes are required to accelerate quickly, have a high maximum speed, react quickly, be able to change direction, and be able to sustain their speed. Fartlek and plyometrics (exercises that allow muscles to reach maximum force quickly) round out a aerobic workout and great amazing results during a relatively short training schedule.


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