Written by Hobbitish Team 9:55 PM Sports

Best Upper Body Workout For Soccer | 10 Exercises

upper body workout for soccer

When we think of soccer, it’s easy to focus on the fancy footwork and lightning-fast sprints. But here’s the game-changer: your upper body. Yes, you read that right! The power of your upper body isn’t just about show-off muscles; it’s about boosting your performance on the field. Whether you’re shielding the ball from opponents, sending pinpoint crosses, or winning those all-important headers, a strong upper body is your secret weapon. In this article, we will teach you the upper body workout for soccer.

Welcome to a journey that goes beyond the pitch and into the gym, where we’ll unveil the untapped potential of your upper body. No complex jargon or tedious routines—just practical advice and dynamic workouts designed to elevate your soccer game. Get ready to power up with an actionable workout routine that will have you scoring goals both on and off the field. 

The Importance of Upper Body Strength in Soccer

Soccer isn’t just about fancy footwork; it’s a symphony of skill, strategy, and strength. And guess what? Your upper body plays a starring role in this soccer symphony. Let’s break it down.

Unleashing Your Athletic Potential

Picture this: a powerful header that sends the ball soaring into the net or a perfectly timed throw-in that surprises the opposition. These game-changing moments don’t happen by chance. They’re powered by your upper body strength. When you develop muscles in your arms, shoulders, and chest, you gain the ability to generate force and control the ball with finesse. It’s like upgrading your toolkit with tools that can shape your gameplay in unexpected ways.

Building a Fortification Against Injuries

Let’s talk about defense—of your body. Soccer is dynamic and demanding, and injuries are the unwelcome guests that can ruin your game. But fear not! A strong upper body isn’t just about flexing; it’s about fortification. Robust shoulders and a solid core can provide stability, reducing the risk of common injuries. Whether it’s shielding the ball from an opponent’s tackle or maintaining balance during rapid direction changes, your well-rounded muscle development is your armor against the unexpected twists of the game.

Upper Body Warm-Up Routine

Get ready to rev up your upper body for the action ahead with a dynamic warm-up routine. This simple yet effective sequence targets key muscles and primes your body for the workout:

Arm Swings: Swing your arms forward and backward like a windmill to increase blood flow and activate upper body muscles.

Shoulder Circles: Rotate your shoulders in forward and backward circles to lubricate joints and engage supporting muscles.

Lunges with a Twist: Perform lunges while alternating torso rotations. Engage your core and warm up your upper body and spine.

Arm Crosses: Extend your arms to the sides and cross them in front of your chest. Enhance flexibility and prepare shoulders for action.

Best 10 Upper Body Workout for Soccer

Workout 1: Push-Up Variations

Push-ups aren’t just a classic exercise; they’re a tried-and-true method to build upper body strength that translates to the soccer field. And guess what? We’re not stopping at the standard push-up; we’re going above and beyond with these game-changing variations:

  • Standard Push-Ups: Begin with the foundation – standard push-ups. Position your hands shoulder-width apart, engage your core, and lower your body by bending your elbows. Push back up to the starting position. Keep your body in a straight line and avoid arching your back.
  • Wide-Grip Push-Ups: For a wider challenge, widen your hand placement beyond shoulder-width. This variation targets your chest muscles even more intensely.
  • Diamond Push-Ups: Form a diamond shape with your hands by touching your thumbs and index fingers. This close-hand position focuses on your triceps and inner chest muscles.
doing push-ups as upper body workout for soccer

Form Matters

Alignment is Key: Maintain a straight line from head to heels throughout the movement. Imagine a plank position – this ensures you’re engaging your core.

Elbow Angle: Your elbows should be at around 45 degrees from your body, not flaring out excessively.

Full Range of Motion: Lower your chest as close to the ground as your strength allows. It’s not a race; quality reps beat quantity.

Recommended Sets

Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each variation. As you build strength, gradually increase the sets and reps.

Workout 2: Plank Rows

Get ready to take your upper body strength up a notch with a dynamic move that’s as challenging as it is rewarding: the Plank Rows. This exercise is a game-changer, combining core stability with upper body engagement for a workout that’s all about balance and strength. Here is how to do it properly:

Starting Position: Begin in a high plank position, hands planted firmly beneath your shoulders, and your body forming a straight line from head to heels.

Stabilize Your Core: Engage your core muscles to maintain a stable plank position throughout the exercise. This is your foundation for the movement.

Row It Up: With a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand, initiate the movement by lifting the weight towards your hip. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blade and using your upper back muscles.

Controlled Movement: Lower the weight back to the ground with control, maintaining your plank position. Avoid swaying your hips or rotating your body.

Alternate Sides: Complete the desired number of repetitions on one side before switching to the other side. This ensures balanced muscle engagement.

Recommended Reps and Sets

Start with 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per side. As you progress, you can increase the repetitions or sets for an added challenge.

Workout 3: Medicine Ball Passes

Prepare to enhance your throwing ability and core strength with a workout that adds a twist of dynamism – the Medicine Ball Passes. This exercise not only hones your upper body strength but also gives your core muscles a serious run for their money. Here is how you execute the technique:

Partner Up: Find a workout buddy or a sturdy wall to assist in this exercise. Having a partner adds an element of challenge and engagement.

Positioning: Stand a few feet apart from your partner or the wall. Hold a medicine ball with both hands at chest height, elbows slightly bent.

Power Up: Engage your core and rotate your torso to one side while holding the ball. With explosive power, twist and pass the ball to your partner or the wall.

Receive and Repeat: Your partner or the wall receives the ball and immediately passes it back to you. Repeat this sequence smoothly and rhythmically.

Alternate Sides: After completing repetitions on one side, switch directions and repeat the process on the other side.

Choose the Right Weight and Repetitions

  • Opt for a medicine ball weight that challenges you without sacrificing proper form. A 6-8 pound ball is a good starting point for most individuals.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side. Adjust the repetitions based on your fitness level and gradually increase the sets for added intensity.

Workout 4: Resistance Band Pull-Aparts

The Resistance Band Pull-Aparts exercise is a stealthy secret to unlocking upper body strength and stability. Here is the step-by-step breakdown:

Secure Your Band: Anchor the resistance band at chest height or slightly lower, ensuring it’s taut but not overly stretched.

Grasp and Position: Hold the band with both hands, palms facing downward. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Engage Your Muscles: Stand tall with a slight bend in your knees and engage your core. This forms your foundation for the exercise.

Pull Apart: Keeping your arms straight, initiate the movement by pulling the band apart horizontally. Imagine squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Controlled Return: Slowly bring your hands back together while maintaining tension in the band. Don’t let the band snap back; control the movement.

Guidance on Tension and Sets

  • Choose a resistance band that provides a challenging but manageable level of tension. You should feel resistance without straining.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Adjust the repetitions based on your fitness level and gradually increase the sets as you progress.

Workout 5: Dumbbell Thrusters

Get ready to experience a workout that’s the best of both worlds – the Dumbbell Thrusters. This dynamic exercise combines a squat and an overhead press, creating a one-two punch that targets multiple muscle groups and amplifies your strength. Here is how you master the movement:

Grasp Your Dumbbells: Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing inward. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.

Squat Down: Lower yourself into a squat position, keeping your chest up, and your knees aligned with your toes. The dumbbells should be close to your shoulders.

Explode Up: As you rise from the squat, use the momentum to press the dumbbells overhead. Fully extend your arms, locking out your elbows at the top.

Control the Descent: Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height as you descend into the next squat. Maintain control throughout the movement.

Choose Weight and Reps

  • Opt for dumbbells that challenge you while allowing you to maintain proper form. Start with a weight you can comfortably press overhead.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Adjust the repetitions based on your fitness level and gradually increase the sets for an added challenge.

Workout 6: TRX Rows 

Say hello to the TRX Rows – a workout that’s not only effective but also adds a twist of instability to supercharge your upper back and arm strength. Get ready to harness the power of suspension training for a stronger you. Here is how you should do it:

Anchor the TRX: Set up the TRX straps at about chest height. Make sure they’re securely anchored to a stable point.

Grip and Lean: Hold the handles with an overhand grip and walk your feet forward, leaning back slightly. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.

Engage Your Muscles: Activate your core and glutes to stabilize your body. This foundation is key to maintaining control throughout the movement.

Row Up: Pull your body towards the handles by bending your elbows, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Imagine trying to touch your chest to the handles.

Lower with Control: Lower your body back down while maintaining tension in the straps. Keep your body straight and avoid sagging or over-arching.

Embrace the Importance of Stability

  • Stability is the name of the game with TRX Rows. The suspended nature of the exercise engages your core and stabilizing muscles, enhancing overall strength.
  • As you row, focus on keeping your body aligned and avoiding unnecessary movements. The challenge of stability adds an extra layer of intensity to the workout.

Workout 7: Battle Rope Slams 

Prepare to make waves – quite literally – with Battle Rope Slams. This high-energy workout is all about harnessing the power of ropes to amplify your shoulder and arm strength. Get ready to slam, sweat, and feel the burn! These are the ways you should do it:

Grab Your Ropes: Hold one end of each battle rope in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.

Elevate and Slam: Lift both ropes overhead and then slam them down onto the ground with power. Use your shoulders and arms to generate force.

Repeat with Rhythm: As the ropes rebound, quickly lift them again and repeat the slam in a rhythmic motion. Engage your core to stabilize your body.

Varied Intensity: You can control the intensity by adjusting the height of your slams and the speed of your movements.

battle rope for upper body workout for soccer

Recommended Intervals and Sets

Start with 3 sets of 20-30 seconds of continuous battle rope slams, followed by a short rest of 30-60 seconds between sets.

Workout 8: Pull-Ups or Assisted Pull-Ups

Get ready to conquer the bar and elevate your upper body strength with Pull-Ups. This classic exercise targets your back and arm muscles, giving you the power to dominate on and off the soccer field. And if you’re just starting out, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with assisted pull-ups using resistance bands. Here is how you perfecting the pull-up technique:

Grip the Bar: Stand beneath a pull-up bar and grip it with your palms facing away from you (overhand grip). Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Hang and Engage: Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended. Engage your core and activate your back muscles.

Pull Up: Initiate the movement by pulling your body upward using your back and arm muscles. Imagine bringing your elbows down to your sides.

Chin Over Bar: Aim to pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Keep your body straight throughout the movement.

Lower with Control: Lower your body back down with control, avoiding a sudden drop. Maintain engagement in your muscles.

Advice for Beginners

  • If you’re new to pull-ups, start with assisted pull-ups using resistance bands.
  • Loop the band around the pull-up bar and place one foot or knee in the loop for support.
  • Perform the pull-up movement with the assistance of the band. Gradually use lighter bands as you gain strength.

Workout 9: Barbell Bench Press

Get ready to unleash the power of the barbell with the Bench Press. This compound exercise isn’t just about lifting weights; it’s a game-changing move that’s all about building chest and triceps strength. Let’s dive into the details and perfect your form. These are the ways to mastering proper form:

Set Up: Lie on a bench with your eyes aligned under the barbell. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and your knees at a comfortable angle.

Grip: Grasp the barbell with a medium-width grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width. Make sure your hands are even on the bar.

Unrack: Lift the barbell off the rack and position it directly above your chest with arms fully extended. Keep your wrists aligned with your forearms.

Lower the Bar: Inhale and slowly lower the bar towards your chest, allowing your elbows to flare slightly. Aim for the bar to touch your chest around the nipple line.

Push Up: Exhale and push the barbell back up to the starting position. Focus on pressing through your chest and triceps while keeping your body stable.

Impact on Chest and Triceps Strength

  • The Barbell Bench Press is a powerhouse move that primarily targets your chest muscles (pectoralis major and minor).
  • Additionally, this exercise heavily engages your triceps as you push the barbell away from your chest.
  • Regular bench pressing can lead to increased chest and triceps strength, making you better equipped for actions like shielding the ball and launching powerful shots.

Workout 10: Overhead Medicine Ball Throws 

Get ready to take your upper body strength to new heights with a workout that combines power and precision – the Overhead Medicine Ball Throws. This explosive exercise is all about generating force from your core and unleashing it through your upper body for game-changing results. Here are the steps to do it:

Position Yourself: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball with both hands at chest level.

Engage Your Core: Activate your core muscles to create a stable base. Imagine coiling up like a spring.

Overhead Lift: Explosively extend your hips and knees while simultaneously lifting the medicine ball overhead. This movement should feel like you’re throwing the ball to the sky.

Release and Throw: Release the ball with force, aiming to launch it as high as possible. Focus on using your upper body strength to propel the ball upward.

Retrieve and Repeat: Retrieve the ball and repeat the movement with controlled intensity. This exercise is about quality over quantity.

upper body workout for soccer

Recommended Reps and Sets

Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. As you gain familiarity with the movement, you can adjust the repetitions based on your fitness level and gradually increase the sets.


Congratulations, you’ve now got a playbook of upper body workout for soccer. This will transform your soccer performance from good to great! As you lace up your sneakers and embark on this journey, remember that these workouts aren’t just about lifting weights – they’re about unlocking the potential within you.

By integrating these exercises into your training regimen, you’re investing in a stronger, more agile version of yourself. From explosive throws to controlled pull-ups, each move serves as a building block for enhanced upper body strength and athleticism. So, embrace the challenge, push your limits, and watch as your improved game performance becomes the ultimate reward. It’s time to score big on the field and in life!

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