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Why don't elite teams bulk up their smaller players?

Discussion in 'Player' started by Impossible6, Nov 10, 2012.

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  1. Impossible6

    Impossible6 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    Club:
    Central Coast Mariners
    Why don't pro teams, and more so elite clubs get their their smaller players in the gym (more) and make them bigger and stronger to cope with the modern game (which is obviously becoming more athletic and physical). For example, players like David Silva, Modric, Ramires, Josh Mceachran, Benayoun, and even Peter Crouch! - imagine what a beast target man the 6ft 7' giant could be if he was bulked up. In regards to the smaller players like Silva, is it because they're afraid of the players becoming less agile? Do you lose agiltiy by gaining muscle mass (I'm talking about overall, not JUST upper body). I mean, look at a physique like C.Ronaldo, lots of mass, yet still as agile as players 5 inches shorter than him. In my view more muscle (=more strength, stability, balance) will make a player even more agile.
     


  2. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

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    There are two answers to this.

    First, excessive muscle mass does hurt both a player's agility and endurance, and even makes players more prone to certain types of injury. Even though more muscle means more strength and stability, it also hurts a player's flexibility. Maximizing agility requires balancing strength against flexibility. Larger muscles need more blood flow, so excessive muscle mass may mean more anaerobic metabolism, more lactic acid buildup in the muscles, and more susceptibility to cramps. Finally, too much muscle mass may also lead to more tendon and joint injuries, because a hard impact to a large muscle may cause a spasm that strains tendons and joints.

    Second, some people are just unable to bulk up that much. I don't think Peter Crouch's lack of muscle mass is for lack of trying.
     
  3. matherold

    matherold Member

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    Oct 2, 2011
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    AC Milan
    Interesting question at hand. Great soccer players can and do come in all shapes and sizes. Would some players be better off gaining some muscle size? Absolutely. Generally, a bigger muscle has more potential for strength and power. This does not mean that guys who look small are not strong or powerful, especially relative to their own bodyweight which is a huge factor in moving well. It also does not take into account fast-twitch fiber versus slow twitch fiber characteristics and nervous system function which impacts rate of force development. Someone who is skinny and looks weak can have a high functioning nervous system and produce a lot of force development (and therefore speed). Elninho above makes interesting points about the energetic requirements of sustaining high levels of muscle mass. I do believe that the heart and body adapts to added muscle mass in order to sustain endurance capabilities. Meaning, as one gains muscle mass but also continues to play soccer (aerobic and anaerobic-glycolycic stimulus), they will be just fine. Gatusso had quite the engine to run and a lot of muscle mass. [​IMG]
     
  4. matherold

    matherold Member

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    From an agility standpoint, being light helps but look at Barry Sanders from the NFL. He was 5'8 and 200 lbs (thick and heavy) but he was perhaps the most agile man on the planet and blazing fast. He could also squat 600 pounds. Whether he would be smooth on the ball, I dont know. Maradona was pretty muscular as was Pele, and it didnt hurt them. I think what we will all agree on is that carrying excessive muscle mass on the upper body is unnecessary for soccer. Stronger and more powerful legs are a must.
     


  5. Squex

    Squex Member

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    Jan 7, 2012
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    Fenerbahce SK
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    Brazil
    You dont need to have a lot of mass to have strong muscles, for example watch players like Messi and Neymar, they are small and thin but they have very strong muscles thats why the rarely get injured.

    In my opinion you need to see each type of player, if are like Andy Carroll that dont have so much technique and bases your game in stregth you will need to gain a lot of muscle mass, but if you are like and agility player like Messi, Silva, gain a lot of muscle mass won´t help your game style.
     
  6. JonIsAnOwl

    JonIsAnOwl Member

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    I'd argue that Messi's legs are actually very muscular.
     
  7. matherold

    matherold Member

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    They are very muscular indeed.
     
  8. dejansavicevic10

    dejansavicevic10 Member

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    Chelsea FC
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    Nigeria
    Well, I think strength coaches on most professional teams actually try to get their players to have as much lean muscle mass as possible. However, to achieve this goal, they mostly use an integrated methodology focusing on prevention of injuries, improving flexibility, power, strength, speed, stability and so on. All the players are stronger than average, but because they train and try to improve multiple variables, one particular feature rarely pops out. While hypertrophy of your muscles will increase strength by increasing the cross sectional area, there is also a heavy emphasis at elite levels with greater neural activation, ie higher resistance for few reps. Neural training will allow you to get very strong, but without adding a lot of muscle weight.

    Besides, there is a certain limit to gain mass, or disadvantages. Can you imagine Dani Alves 15lbs heavier, or Ashley Cole? Specifically at certain positions, too much gain in overall bodyweight/significant increase in muslce mass will change the player completely. There is no way Dani Alves can carry 15lbs and be going up and down the wing like he does.

    Not to say it is not possible for players to gain more muscle mass and be great players. Take for example, Cristiano Ronaldo, his body has changed completely from when he was at ManU. Some of it can be attributed to him just growing into his regular man's body, but he has definitely added muscle to his frame, but he has still be able to maintain his speed and skills.

    Bottomline is, it is possible to pack more muscle, but it is variable that has to be closely monitored and tweaked by professional strength coaches, while still allowing the player to maintain their balance, skills, strength, fitness level. This is very different from going to the gym, and doing 27 sets for your chest, and shoulders or something along those lines.
     
  9. ejgrownarseman

    ejgrownarseman Member

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    Seattle Sounders
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    It's also pretty hard to lift for size and deal with the consequent DOMS when you constantly have a match coming up that you need to be 100% for.
     
  10. kick96

    kick96 Member

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    Nov 10, 2012
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    Liverpool FC
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