Build leg strength and muscle, like Ronaldinho

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

Soccer players require a combination of strength and muscle in their legs, yet for many reasons many players don’t train their legs. They think simply playing soccer is enough work on developing strength and muscle in their legs. Years go by and this issue is never fully addressed.

In a game of soccer, players do a lot of dribbling and get knocked around. As a result they need leg strength which will help them hold their ground when they have 50/50 battles with opponents. Not only will leg strength help you hold your ground but it will help improve your balance when shooting and when knocked on one leg.

When Ronaldinho does his flip flap move he should technically fall over since he is pushing the ball out very wide before pulling it back again. However, he has worked very hard on his leg strength and balance that this is never an issue. This move in particular is just as much strength and balance as it is skill…something many soccer players forget when they try to emulate it. To learn more about the difference between strength and muscle training click here.

Watch Ronaldinho do the flip flap, better known as the elastico.

Then there are players such as Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi who are shorter and thus have a low center of gravity and this comes into effect when they move about the pitch. However, your body size should not matter because if you properly train your legs you will have improved balance and be able to hold your ground better.

Leg training exercises include:

  • squats
  • leg extensions
  • lunges
  • plyometrics, one-leg and interchanging
  • Follow-up weights with sprint intervals

For strength training do three sets of 12-15 repetitions. To increase muscle size do 4-5 sets of 8-10 repetitions. Be sure to lift your maximum whether doing strength or muscle training. To learn more of weight training for soccer players click here.

3 Responses to “Build leg strength and muscle, like Ronaldinho

  • It’s very helpful long term for the knees too. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve experienced some knee pain from time to time. I’ve recently added some light weight training for my legs 3 times per week and I’m noticing a huge difference.

  • Plyometrics really work. When I started my program for jumping, I tried the plyometrics exercise and bang! After two weeks I really saw a lot of improvements with my jump.

  • I wondering how Ronaldinho get the ball easily and skill that he had.

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