In a lineup against other athletes, soccer players do not look particularly imposing. Their upper body is not as developed as most other athletes, and soccer does not require a very large build overall. With that said, some people wonder if adding muscle would benefit a soccer player in general.
Why aren’t soccer players muscular? The majority of soccer players are not that muscular because the extra weight does not provide them any real benefits on the pitch. Muscles on the upper-body is usually more of an hindrance than anything else. Legs is the only body part where most soccer players are quite muscular.
Where Are Soccer Players Most Muscular?
Soccer players might not have additional muscles that show they are extremely strong, but most of them have powerful legs. It comes with the territory in many ways, as they are running around on a pitch during every single match.
Some of the top players have had huge legs that allow them to power through all different types of situations. There are times when the match can start drag, but players always find a way to get through the tough times and play at a high level. With limited substitutions, all but three starters must play all 90 minutes.
The vast majority of soccer players are also very strong in their core. This is a little harder to build up naturally, but a lot of it comes with playing the game. Players will be able to move around and keep their core muscles as strong as possible, but there are some weight routines to do that as well.
Not only does the core need to be muscular, but there needs to be some level of flexibility as well. Players will rely on yoga to strengthen the core muscles, but make sure they are very flexible as well.
Core muscles are located around the center of the back of the chest. Soccer players need to stay athletic, flexible, and versatile on the pitch to succeed. Building up core muscles keeps the body balanced and ready to attack.
What Position Requires The Most Muscles?
When it comes to adding actual muscle mass, the only position that might require that a little bit is goalie. They are usually bigger anyway, and they do not run around quite as much. Having some strength in the legs and the upper body can help make strong plays on defense.
Bigger defenders in general who might worry more about positioning and physicality can also add a little bit of mass to their bodies. Part of this comes naturally, as older athletes tend to hold onto weight a little easier, but they are still relatively lightweight compared to athletes and other sports.
Make no mistake: nearly every professional soccer player is trim and fit. It is virtually impossible to play at a high level and not be. They do not carry the same type of muscle mass on their body.
Should Soccer Players Strive To Add Muscle?
To a certain degree, adding some level of muscle will help a soccer player. These days, the game is too physical not to be at least somewhat strong battling for position and beating players to the ball. However, they are never going to need to do the same workouts as rugby or football players, or even basketball players, for that matter.
The uniqueness of soccer being mainly played with feet means that workouts are almost solely based on the lower half of the body. From building muscle to helping with the recovery process, the upper body is mostly kept as lean as possible.
Only extremely skinny players should think about adding some muscle. Running around and playing will add muscle naturally, but maybe an extra 5-10 pounds on a very skinny frame could help absorb some of the physicality seen on the pitch.
Is It Impossible To Have Success as a Muscular Soccer Player?
While there is a traditional build for soccer players, there are some stronger players who have had success as well. These players tend to be more about gaining possession and control of the ball than outrunning their opponents, but it is possible to succeed.
At the end of the day, every soccer player has their own strengths and weaknesses. There is a build that is more common to see with soccer players than others, but they come in all shapes and sizes. The average soccer player will not try to purposely bulk up, but being physical and winning balls is a strategy.
Will Soccer Players Ever Need To Be Stronger With Their Upper Body?
The physicality of soccer is definitely at an all-time high, as athletes, in general, are getting bigger, faster, and stronger.
With that said, it is tough to say that soccer players need a super strong upper body at this point when looking at some of the top players. Guys like Neymar and Messi are on the smaller side in general, and they are still playing at an extremely high level.
At some point, soccer players likely will be stronger across the board. When fighting for position, a balance of speed and strength can play a major role. Kylian Mbappe is one of the most promising young players in the game right now, and although he is short, he is a little more stocky than players in the past.
Having a little bit of a muscle edge has allowed him to play a much more mature game at this stage of his career. One of the knocks on younger players is that they are not strong enough to play against physical teams.
Unless the soccer field shrinks significantly, there will still be a need to slim down as much as possible. Soccer players run too much and rely on speed and stamina over strength. Certain positions might get bigger, but not by much.