Bodyweight Exercises for Soccer

10 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Soccer Players

In the fiercely competitive sport of soccer, agility and strength are not just requirements, they are necessities carved through disciplined, targeted training.

But, what if you don’t have access to any equipment?

Whether you’re at home or traveling on the road, sometimes getting into a gym just isn’t an option. If this is where you’ve found yourself, you’re in the right place!

Bodyweight training is an effective, but often overlooked, way for soccer players to work the entire body – from upper strength to plyometric training to core strength.

I’ve been a sports performance coach at the collegiate level for 20 years and, in this article, I’m sharing with you the 10 best bodyweight exercises that you can do without any equipment.

Best Bodyweight Exercises for Soccer Players

Here they are, in no particular order, my 10 favorite bodyweight exercises for soccer players.

Stick around to the end because I put these 10 exercises into a strength training circuit that you can try out right now.


Pushup Bottom Position

Why: Push-Ups target the chest, shoulders, and triceps while engaging the core, promoting upper body strength which is crucial for shielding the ball and competing physically in challenges.

Push-Ups aren’t just one of my favorite bodyweight exercises, it’s one of my favorite upper-body exercises for soccer, period.

How To

  • Lie face down on the floor.
  • Pull your toes in so that you’re on the tip of your shoes.
  • Eyes should be focused straight down or slightly up.
  • Pull your hands close to about the nipple line of the chest and bring them out about 2-3 inches away.
  • Take a deep breath, engage the core and brace.
  • Push yourself up in one unit. There should be no sagging of the waist. The entire body from head to toe should move up and then back down in unison.
  • Feel your scapula upwardly rotate and make sure the antagonist muscles (Back and biceps) are fully engaging.
  • Lock out your push-up and pause.
  • Slowly lower yourself back down and get ready for the next repetition from just above the ground. Do not fully relax at the bottom of the push-up unless your program specifies.

Bodyweight Squats

Bodyweight Squat

Why: By working the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, Bodyweight Squats help in building lower body strength which is essential for powerful sprinting and jumping during the game.

How To

  • Perform your bodyweight squat by placing feet shoulder width apart, toes straight ahead or slightly pointed out.
  • Squat down by first hinging the hips back and then bending the knees and dropping the hips straight down.
  • Chest should stay up, eyes focused straight ahead.
  • Feet should remain flat on the floor with weight evenly distributed between the heel and ball of the foot.
  • Stand tall by pushing the feet ‘through the floor’, driving the hips up and the shoulders tall.


Burpees in Motion

Why: Burpees are a full-body exercise that not only builds muscular strength but also enhances cardiovascular endurance, a crucial element for maintaining high energy levels throughout the match.

How To

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides.
  • Lower your body into a squat position by bending your knees and hips. Place your hands on the ground in front of you, just outside shoulder-width apart.
  • Jump your feet back into a plank position, with your hands still on the ground and your body in a straight line.
  • Do a push-up by lowering your chest towards the ground, then pressing back up to the plank position.
  • Jump your feet back towards your hands, then stand (or jump) up and reach your arms overhead.

Need a Training Program?

Visit the Horton Barbell Shop and Use Code “HB10” for 10% Off ANY Program!


Elbow Front Plank

Why: Planks enhance core stability, aiding in better ball control and improving balance during one-on-one confrontations.

How To

  • Start on the ground on your stomach.
  • Assume a push-up like position on your elbows and toes. Elbows should be directly under the shoulders.
  • Position your body in a straight line from the shoulders through the hips, knees and ankles.
  • Brace the core tight. (As if you’re going to be punched in the stomach)
  • Do not let the body slouch to the ground nor push the hips up high in the air.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers with Right Knee Up

Why: Mountain Climbers is a dynamic exercise that promotes core stability and strength while working the hip flexors, helping in quick directional changes and sprint recoveries.

How To

  • Begin in a push-up position – hands under shoulders, core engaged, body in a straight line
  • Now raise one knee toward the chest and place the ball of the foot on the ground – from this position you’re ready to begin performing reps.
  • Drive one leg up and place the foot right next to where the opposite foot just left.
  • Simultaneously extend the ‘up foot’ back to the original starting position.


Bodyweight Lunge

Why: Lunges are vital in developing lower body strength and stability, enhancing a player’s ability to maintain balance during challenges and improving stride length in sprinting.

How To

  • Stand upright with feet hip-width apart, shoulders relaxed and engage your core
  • Step forward with one leg and lower your body, bending both knees at 90 degrees.
  • Front knee above ankle, not past toes. Back knee close to but not touching the ground.
  • Push off the front foot and return to the start position. Alternate legs each rep.

Russian Twists

Russian Twist Bodyweight

Why: Russian Twists targets the obliques, improving core strength and rotational power, which is essential for powerful shooting and passing.

How To

  • Start by taking a seat on the floor and clasping your hands together.
  • Slightly bend the knees and raise your feet roughly six inches off the floor.
  • Start by rotating your torso to the left, taking your right elbow toward your left knee.
  • Now turn your shoulders and rotate your torso to the right, now taking your left elbow toward your right knee.
  • Keep legs mostly still and maintain the feet off the floor throughout the movement.

RELATED –> My 8 Favorite Core Exercises for Soccer Players

Glute Bridges

Glute Bridge

Why: Glute Bridges target the hamstrings and glutes, helping prevent hamstring strains and enhancing power in sprints.

How To

  • Start by laying on your back on the ground.
  • Bend both knees to about a 90-degree angle and place both feet flat on the floor.
  • Begin the rep by driving your hips up into the air. Try to attain a straight line from the shoulders through the hips and knees.
  • Squeeze the glutes at the top of the rep and then lower back down to the starting position.

Squat Jumps

Squat Jumps (1)

Why: Incorporating Squat Jumps can improve explosive strength, which is beneficial in aerial duels and quick accelerations.

How To

  • First, make sure you have enough clearance to safely do Squat Jumps (no low ceilings!)
  • Start in a shoulder-width with toes either straight ahead or turned slightly out.
  • Squat down, exactly how you would with a normal Bodyweight Squat.
  • As you squat down, cock your arms back so that they are down and slightly behind the hips.
  • When you get to the bottom of the squat, explosively drive yourself up – hips and arms – into the air as high as possible.
  • Land softly by bending the hips and knees to absorb force when contacting the ground.

High Knees

Why: High Knees aid in enhancing agility and speed, cultivating a faster and more agile player on the field.

How To

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
  • Lift one leg off the ground and bring your knee up towards your chest, keeping your foot dorsiflexed (toe pointed up), your heel tucked under the hamstring and your core engaged.
  • As you bring your knee up, bring your opposite arm up to just in front of the face with the elbow at roughly a 90-degree angle.
  • The arm on the same side as the knee that is up should be placed just behind the hip with the elbow at roughly a 90-degree angle.
  • Lower your foot back to the ground and repeat the movement with the opposite leg and arm.
  • Continue alternating legs and arms, lifting your knees as high as you can while keeping your balance and form.

Bodyweight Circuit

Here’s a bodyweight circuit that a soccer player can follow to build strength and endurance using the exercises above:

Circuit 13 Rounds
Push-Upsx 15
Bodyweight Squatsx 15
Burpeesx 12
Plankx 45 seconds
Circuit 23 Rounds
Mountain Climbersx 15 each leg
Squat Jumpsx 12
Russian Twistsx 10 reps each side
Circuit 33 Rounds
Glute Bridgesx 15
Lungesx 12 each leg
High Kneesx 30 seconds

Circuit Instructions

Make sure to start off with a proper warm-up. I have a few sample warmups here if you need one.

Perform each exercise in Circuit 1 one after another, with minimal rest in between, until 3 total rounds have been completed.

Rest for 2 minutes.

Continue on to Circuit 2 in the same manner, resting another 2 minutes between Circuit 2 and 3.

If you want to increase the challenge, try 4 rounds of each circuit instead of 3.

Get Started Today!
Horton Barbell Logo 3

Online Strength Programs

  • 1-on-1 Online Coaching
  • Sports Performance Programs for Football, Basketball, Soccer & More
  • Programs for Former Athletes (Legends) Who Still Want to Train Like Athletes
  • Programs for Adults Who Want to Get Healthy (and look great at the beach!)
  • Use Code “HB10” to Get 10% Off Today

Final Thoughts

Investing time in bodyweight exercises (in or out of the gym) can be a game-changer for soccer players aiming to enhance their physical fitness. This selection of exercises offers a well-rounded approach to building strength, flexibility, and endurance without the need for any equipment.

By regularly incorporating these movements into your bodyweight training, you can set a solid foundation for improved performance on the field.

Start with commitment to yourself, recognizing that each rep, each set is a step toward reaching your personal goals and unlocking your full potential as a soccer player.

It’s time to get started — your future self will thank you.

More Links and Info

If you enjoyed this article then make sure to check out some of my other soccer resources:

Average Height and Weight of MLS Forwards

Complete Guide to Soccer Strength Training

Share This