Pressing Movements for Soccer Players

Pressing movements such as push-ups, bench presses, and overhead pressing variations may not seem like a priority for the training of a soccer player.  I am sure that if you asked these players to explain why they to need to do push ups, bench pressing, or overhead pressing, that you may get a exciting variety of answers.  Some answers that I can think of are…

To be stronger on the ball (not get knocked off)


Strength to knock an opponent off the ball

My thought process is a bit different when explaining to players why they would want some pressing strength.  Specifically, a good push-up is hard to find anywhere.  Rarely does someone come into the facility and perform a perfect set of quality push-ups.  Why?  For one, maybe inexperience training, but also because core stability (to prevent injuries) plagues many athletes and the general population. Here is is the position we want our soccer athletes in when performing a push-up..

Using a PVC Pipe:

The points of contact still remains the same in the push up

  •  Sacrum, upper back, and back of head should all be in a straight like.
  • Chin is down, biggest mistake will be chin poked forward or even worse, eyes looking up in the bottom position
  • Elbows should be tucked slightly back
  • “Squeeze your butt tight” is a great cue to help decrease the chances they are using their hip flexors or low back as stabilizers during this movement (anterior pelvic tilt)

Why else do pressing movements?

General pressing strength will help with grip strength that can help soccer athletes hold more weight which can help them with lifts to develop power and lower body strength.  What I mean is that having a good level of upper body strength can help with lower body strength by improving their ability to hold more weight with our single/double leg movements.

Developing power is significantly important for soccer as there many repeated bouts of short (2-6s) explosive runs. We would like to use explosive movements such as 1-arm DB hang snatches, RFE Split Squat Jumps (weights in each hand), push presses, or hang cleans. All which need the ability to hold the a dumbbell or barbell in hand.  Imagine if someone was so weak that they couldn’t hold anything more than a 15lb dumbbell in each hand. That weakness will prevent the athlete from becoming stronger or more powerful because they could not hold anything heavier than 15s in each hand for movements like reverse lunges, split squats, front squats, 1-leg DB SLDL, and the list goes on.

The entire upper body strengthening approach will improve the ideas I discussed above.  It isn’t only pressing strength soccer athletes need but pulling (chin-ups, rows) as well so that our programming is balanced (in the upper body).  Next post will provide the basic progressions we use with our athletes for pressing movements).



Categories: Strength Training

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1 reply


  1. Useful Pressing Progressions for Soccer Athletes | Matt Siniscalchi Strength & Conditioning

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