In this video I demonstrate strengthening exercises that can be implemented as part of a comprehensive program to help reduce risk of injury.
The first exercise is the Nordic Hamstring Curl, which is an eccentric hamstring exercise that has been shown to help reduce the risk of hamstring injury. My partner holds my legs down while I slowly lower myself towards the ground. It is important to keep the core tight, abs engaged, and avoid excessive extension or rounding of the back.
The second exercise is a banded side shuffle with the soccer ball. The soccer drill shown here is commonly called "boxes," "foundations," or "bells," but I have added a band above the knees for additional strength training of the hip abductors. Athletes should be cued to keep their knees away from each other by continuously pushing into the band and to keep their knees bent.
The next two exercises are a reverse lunge to a volley and a SL squat to a volley. These two strengthening exercises are extremely easy to implement into a practice session, simply by having the players perform the exercise in between volleys. Coaching the athletes for correct lower extremity alignment and mechanics is key during these exercises!
The final exercise is banded defensive slides. The defender has a band around his or her knees and should be cued to keep the knees away from each other by pushing into the band. This exercise helps to promote correct defensive stance, while also strengthening the hip abductors.
Another great exercise to include is a Dead Lift. I prefer single leg RDL’s for soccer players since SL stability is crucial to the sport and the movement mimics the action of kicking a soccer ball. Refer to the SL Stability Video for a demonstration of a great SL RDL exercise using a soccer ball.