Why Is Upper Body Strength Important In Football?
Footballers often think that they only need to focus on training their legs. However, having a strong upper body is crucial for being well rounded athlete. Developing your upper body will help you in multiple ways both on and off the pitch.
A strong upper body is key for having efficient energy transfer while running. This means that developing your upper body can help improve your sprint speed and make you a more agile player.
Upper body strength also helps you quickly transfer momentum when jumping. This will help you win aerial duels anywhere on the pitch, and will also help you make stronger challenges in matches.
How Do I Get A Stronger Upper Body?
Building upper body strength is achieved through consistency. You need to be regularly implementing exercises into your routine that target the muscles of your chest, arms, and back. Over time, you’ll start to see results. In this article, I’ll discuss 10 effective upper body workouts for footballers who want to improve their athleticism.
If you’re looking for other great ways to get in shape for the season, check out our articles on building fitness, HIIT training, plyometrics, and leg strength. Now, let’s get into the best exercises for building that upper body.
Push Ups are an all time great exercise. They’re so simple and can be performed in countless varieties to build your chest, triceps and shoulders. For a demonstration of good form, check out this video on performing the perfect push up.
One of the things that make push ups so great is that they can be performed anywhere, with no equipment needed. This exercise is crucial for developing and maintaining the base of your upper body strength.
The dip is an even more challenging bodyweight pushing exercise. All you need are some parallel bars to perform a dip successfully. This exercise involves moving your entire body through space using mostly your chest and triceps.
Being able to perform dips with good form is key to mastering your own bodyweight. It’s also a great exercise for building a more muscle power. If you’re new to the exercise, check out the following video for a demonstration on the perfect form.
The push press is one of my favorite upper body exercises. That’s partly because this exercise also incorporates your leg strength. Unlike a standard shoulder press, a push press involves slightly bending your knees before driving the weight up overhead.
As you bring the weight back down, try to slowly control the barbell until it reaches your chest. You can allow your knees to bend slightly when the bar comes back down. This exercises will improve your shoulder strength and mobility, as well as make you more explosive.
Farmer’s walks are another simple yet effective exercise to have in your routine. The traditional variation simply involves picking up a weight in each hand and walking across the room. This exercise has a lot of utility because it works out so many muscle groups at the same time.
Farmer’s walks will target the muscles of your shoulders, arms, and upper back. Additionally, they will help you develop your grip strength, which will benefit you across all of your workouts. This exercise will even help ensure that your posture is kept in check.
Single Arm Farmer’s Walks
The single arm variation of the farmer’s walk is another great exercise to add to your rotation. This exercise is nearly identical to the traditional farmer’s walk, the only difference being that you hold the weight in just one hand.
This makes the exercise counter rotational. You’re using your abdominal muscles in order to stay upright as you walk with the weight. This exercise will improve both your core stability and balance. These are both key attributes for all footballers.
You may not think that doing bicep curls can translate into better athletic performance, but you might be surprised. Running is a full body exercise, and your upper body helps facilitate energy transfer through the swinging of your arms.
Hammer curls are a great way to build up upper body strength, as this exercise moves your arms through a similar range of motion to when you’re running. Improving your strength with this exercise will help result in improved arm drive while sprinting.
Pull ups are referred to by some as the king of upper body movements. When you see how many muscles this exercise works, it’s hard to argue that. The pull up is an absolute killer workout for the lats, biceps, and upper back. It’s also one of the most challenging bodyweight exercises there is.
Mastering the pull up indicates that you have a healthy strength to weight ratio, which is important for footballers. On top of all of their strength benefits, pull ups will also help you develop better posture as well.
The chin up is a very similar exercise to the pull up, with the key difference being the grip used on the bar. For a chin up, the palms are facing towards the body, compared to a pull up where they are facing away. This modified grip has an effect on the muscles that are targeted in the exercise.
In addition to training your lats and core muscles, the chin up will place a greater emphasis on your biceps. To help get the best of both exercises, I’d recommend incorporating both chin ups and pull ups into your workout program.
The dumbbell row is another one of my absolute favorite exercises for the upper body. It’s such a simple movement, but it’s so useful for building out your lats and upper back. Another great thing about this exercises is that it’s scalable for beginners.
I recommend performing the dumbbell row both feet on the ground, as this avoids the asymmetrical stress of having one leg up on a bench. Be sure to start out light until you get comfortable with the proper form.
Band Pull Aparts
Band pull aparts are a healthy addition to anyone’s workout plan. That’s because resistance bands are so cheap and widely available, you can easily use them in your own home. Jeff Cavaliere from Athlean X has a helpful video where shows the best way to perform a band pull apart.
Doing just 10-20 band pull aparts a day can help improve your posture, fix strength imbalances, and improve shoulder mobility. These are all important factors to address as you work to become a stronger athlete.
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