Athletic Training Professor Talks Soccer and Strength Training

By Dan Verderosa, July 3, 2018
Professor Paul Geisler tells Scientific American that players should pursue a balanced strength training program.
A man dribbles a soccer ball
(Photo by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock)

Paul Geisler has some advice for young soccer players aspiring to be the next Messi or Ronaldo. In an article on ScientificAmerican.com detailing how strength training can help players avoid injuries, the professor of athletic training recommended a balanced approach instead of the pure pursuit of muscle mass.

“If you focus too much on just size, you can risk compromising or losing some flexibility and elasticity of those muscles,” said Geisler, who teaches in Ithaca College’s School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, where he leads the Athletic Training Education Program.

Instead, Geisler suggested concentrating on muscle strengthening during the elongation phase in addition to contractions during the shortening phase — the most common form of strength training. He also said players should seek to even out potential strength and flexibility imbalances between opposing muscles of the hip, pelvis and thigh in order to lower the risk of acute and chronic injury in the hips and legs.

“It’s about coordination and balance,” Geisler said. “An interrelationship between all those critical muscles allows the elite soccer player to prevent injury and perform well.”