To the untrained eye, soccer looks entirely like an endurance sport. But athletes who pour their sweat and tears into it know it's one of the most physical games in all of sports.
Because of the speed of play and constant collisions, soccer players repeatedly get knocked to the ground and have to jump back up as quickly as possible to get back in the action. That's why Brad Price, former LSU women's soccer strength and conditioning coach, trains his athletes for the game's physical demands. "When [you] fall, it's a natural tendency to put your hand down," Price says. "You run into a lot of rotator cuff issues."
To tackle this problem, Price has his athletes perform Plank Push-Ups, which specifically help strengthen the muscles they use when they fall on the pitch. "It's a great core exercise, it's a great upper body, and it's a great shoulder stabilization," he says.
• Assume push-up position
• Perform push-up
• On way up, rotate body to left side balancing on left arm while bringing right arm up toward sky
• Lower right arm back to floor and repeat on opposite side
• Repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 4x15 each side
Coaching Points: Assume push-up position with arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and body in a straight line // Make sure your eyes follow your hand up to the sky // At peak position, body should be perpendicular to floor
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