Five strengthening exercises for recreational football players to improve their game

With the professional and amateur football seasons now well under way, and student teams returning imminently, we at Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic have compiled five of our favourite strengthening and conditioning exercises to help recreational footballers to improve their game.

Prior to starting any exercise, it is important to consult your physiotherapist to discuss the suitability of a certain exercise according to your physical condition. Avoid doing any exercise if it is causing pain or aggravating an injury.


Nordic hamstring curls

nordic curls

To perform this exercise, follow the steps:

  • Begin kneeling up tall with someone holding your ankles behind
  • Keeping hips and back in neutral/straight and fall forward slowly
  • Allow your hands to stop you at the end as you fall onto floor
  • Repeat 8 times


Ball squeeze

ball squeeze 1 ball squeeze 2

To perform this exercise, follow the steps:

  • Lie down on your back over a mat on the floor, placing your hands on the sides of your body.
  • Place a ball in between knees with:     1) legs bent            2) legs straight.
  • Slightly squeeze the ball to tighten your adductor muscles.
  • Pause for a few seconds and repeat it again for 8-10 times.

Lateral slides

lateral slide

To perform this exercise, follow the steps:

  • Using a friction free board.
  • Place your leg on the on board and slide away from your body
  • Contract you adductor muscles and return the moving leg back to starting position.
  • Repeat 10-12 times x 3 sets.


Side walks

side walk

To perform this exercise, follow the steps:

  • Using an elastic band place it around your ankles.
  • Start with your knee bent in a half squat position with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Ensure the band is taut.
  • Then take a large step to one side ensuring to contract your glutes as you step.
  • Continue to step in this fashion for 8-10 more times.
  • Repeat in the opposite direction x 3 sets.

Lower limb

Split alternating squats

alternating squats

To perform this exercise, follow the steps:

  • Standing upright.
  • Take one step forward into a split stance.
  • Drop into a split squat so that your leading thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Push up from the balls of your feet rapidly to jump up, jumping as high as you can and switching legs midair.
  • Land in the opposite stance dropping back down into a squat.
  • Repeat 10-12 times each leg x 3 sets