It’s a sport that builds endurance, stamina, coordination, speed and agility. Its athletes are lean and mean, can run for miles and have huge mental and physical capabilities. Soccer players are arguably some of the best athletes in the world, and we’re here to give you some pointers on how to train like one.

Female soccer player

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup coming up, we thought it was a perfect time to share the in’s and out’s of what makes these soccer players so fit! These workouts from Fitday and Soccer Training Methods, build the necessary lean muscle required for the grueling sport, and prepare players for their strenuous 90-minutes games.

Squats – Soccer players need to keep their legs strong and powerful, and what better way to do that then the exercise best known for building leg muscle! Because the goal here is to build both size and strength, you will want to lift heavier and do fewer reps. Try starting with 3 sets of 10-12 reps at a weight that is challenging and allows you to feel the burn.

Sprints – Sprints involve the fast-twitch muscle fibers in the quads and hamstrings, and can be done anywhere, such as a track, treadmill or park. Because soccer players often have to make a mad-dash from one side of the field to the other, being able to pick up speed quickly can be the difference between winning or losing the game. Begin your run with a light jog for 3-5 minutes and then alternate between a 90 second jog and a 45-60 second, all-out sprint. Continue to alternate for 15-20 minutes.

Uphill Runs – A different type of sprinting, running uphill, is a great way for soccer players to build leg muscle and increase strength. This type of running will also increase endurance; an absolute must for all soccer players. If you feel intimidated, try walking for part of the workout. Alternate between 2-3 minute walks and 60-90 second sprints.

Suicides – Suicides are amazing for increasing speed and agility, not to mention the fact that they will put your endurance to the test! Try setting up 6 cones (or alternate marker), about 10 yards apart for 50 yards. Sprint from the start to the 10 yard marker and then back, start to the 20 yard marker and back, start to the 30 yard marker and back and continue the same pattern to the 40 and 50 yard marker. If you’re up for the challenge, rest for 60 seconds and knock out one more set!

Power Jumps – These explosive exercises improve muscles in the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, all muscles used frequently by soccer players. Go fast and try to get as high as you can! Start out with 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps and build from there as your strength increases.

While we can’t guarantee that following these tips will transform you into a world class athlete, it’s certainly a great place to start. For more information and specific workouts to channel your inner soccer player, visit Soccer Training Methods, and don’t forget to tune in to the World Cup on June 12 to watch these amazing athletes in action!