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  • Writer's pictureLionel Pannunzio PT / SCS

The importance of Single Leg Workouts for Soccer Players

Playing soccer requires a great ability to perform certain movements in one leg only.

Rehabilitation, Training or Injury Prevention will require us to maximize single leg strength and power .

In order to achieve these qualities, Athletes need to train and master single leg movements.

Here are the Single Leg battery of exercises that I like the most and I believe every Soccer Player should be able to demonstrate proficiency in performing them.

Hip Hinge

Being able to Hip Hinge is an important movement to master.

It creates tension in the posterior chain from the foot all the way up to the spine.

It can be used as a strengthening exercise but also as a mobility exercise to achieve lengthening of the posterior chain, especially the hamstrings.

Set Up

Begin in a standing upright position holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand.

Lift one leg off the ground and bend forward at your hips, lowering the weight toward the ground. Then return to an upright position not by starting the return with you head or trunk but by pushing foot into the ground to activate the posterior chain muscles.

Make sure to keep your back straight during the exercise and keep your knee slightly bent.

Single Leg Squat to Forward Step Down

In this exercise we combine the ability to squat on one leg with a Step Down movement, all in one.

Very challenging exercise forces the whole Lower extremity into eccentric control of these two movement variations.

The first part of the movement challenges the Gluteus Maximus and the Step down the Gluteus Medium and Minimum therefore it's great for performance and late stages of hip / knee rehab.

Trap Bar Reverse Lunges

Set up

Deadlift the weight up.

Initiate the reverse lunge by bringing one leg back, and dropping that back knee as far down to the ground as you can get it.

Keep your torso upright.

Return to the starting position by standing the front leg up and returning the back leg to the starting position.

Airplane Palloff

The airplane is a very important exercise for soccer players for enhancing balance, strength, coordination, glute activation, and joint mobility all at the same time and with the hip in a loaded position ( closed kinetic chain ).

This exercise helps to encourage a strong, stable spine while also moving through full internal and external rotation of the hip joint.

Adding a Palloff variation to the Airplane we are adding resistance to this powerful coordination exercise.

Set Up

Keep front knee slightly bent, move slow and feel the hip going into rotation and control it.

Overhead Lunge

Overhead lunge variation that involves full body strength, stability, mobility, alignment and power while also providing a functional stretch to the entire body. 1000 times better than stretching.

Set Up

Keep the overhead position as you slowly move into a lunge and from there into a knee drive movement to extra challenge the stability of the spine and the hip staying on the ground.

Lionel Pannunzio is a Physical Therapist Certified in Sports Injuries. With more than 20 years of experience helping athletes return to their sports after an injury. He is the Owner of White Bay Sports Physical Therapy and Fitness, conveniently located in the beautiful City of Weston, where he treats Soccer Player, Runners and Athletes of all ages

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Lionel Pannunzio

Physical Therapist

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