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Importance of upper body strength

December 31, 2003 09:00 PM
Sue Hammond was the trainer for the U.S. national team during the 1999 Women's World Cup and now serves as the trainer for the Washington Freedom.
Following is a question and answer session concerning the importance of upper body strength in soccer players and what players can do to increase that strength.
Q: Discuss the importance of upper body strength in soccer players.
A: People often don't think soccer players use their upper arms, because they're usually just thinking legs, and kicking, and running, but we see a lot of shoulder and wrist injuries when players are trying to hold off opponents and fighting for the ball. Also, another huge occurence of injuries is when the players are knocked down and fall and catch themselves.
Upper body strength is just a good way of preventing any injuries from happening.
Q: What are some tips for increasing/improving upper body strength?
A: I'm a 100% for free weights. Any kind of free weights, as long as someone who knows what they're doing teaches them. We concentrate primarily on the shoulders, the pecs, the back, and the trunk for stabilization. We also do a variety (of exercises) so the girls don't get burned out. We don't do a lot of heavy weights, and we do about 10-12 reps. It's not strenuous, but it's enough.
Q: What types of exercises do you do specifically?
A: We do your typical curls and extensions for the biceps and triceps, and then we also do upright and seated rows, bench press, inclines, lat pull-downs, push-ups, and pull-ups.



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