Year-Round Advanced Circuit Training - Position/Movement Pattern Specific Exercises

By Phil Rose (reprinted from Performance Conditioning Soccer)

This article is one of 10 articles part of the Soccer Conditioning Circuits Volume 2 Insta-Kit.


  • This program is designed to increase 1st step, mobility and soccer specific movement.
  • This program is particularly useful for developing increased mobility when working with midfield players and defenders. Each circuit consists of position specific movement exercises.
  • The distances between cones and the direction of movement are typical patterns of directional movement for the positions described. The total distances of 1 rep of each exercise is a typical distance covered by attackers, midfielders or defenders.
  • A variation of speeds from jog to half speed to sprint is also typical.

Circuit Training Definition and exercise training variables

Circuit Training offers an endless variety of training possibilities. A circuit is a group of exercises performed in succession. Soccer specific exercises are performed at a number of exercise stations designed in this program to develop, refine and test positional specific movement patterns. A series of stations comprise the circuit. After a period of rest, a circuit can be repeated. A circuit has several variables training. By changing the variables of: choice of exercise, order in which they are performed, how many times each exercise is repeated, how difficult the exercise or the tempo it is performed at and the rest involved, factored together, accomplishes the desired training effect.

  1. Choice of exercise: The exercise to be performed. This will determine which muscles will be involved and from what specific bio-mechanical positions. All exercises should be done using correct and perfect technique to prevent injury.
  2. Order of exercise: The sequence in which a series of exercises is to be performed. The combination of exercise sequence is almost limitless. Sequencing is typically done in priority, what is most important to do, based on the needs of the athlete.
  3. Recovery: The amount of rest between repetitions and sets of the same exercise, different exercises and training sessions. Rest can have many different qualities from a passive rest where no activity is done to active rest where an activity of low intensity and general in nature is performed.
  4. Volume: the amount of total worked performed for a specific unit of training (distance). The total number of sets, repetitions and distance performed for an exercise is an example of volume.
  5. Load: the amount of resistance provided during the exercise. Load can be body weight, environmental (hills) or external (weighted vest).
  6. Intensity: the amount of effort necessary to perform an exercise in a given unit of time. Intensity can be increase by increasing the load factor or by reducing the time factor.
  7. Frequency: How often the athlete does the training in a specific period of time (also know as density).

Movement Pattern 1 - Circuit Layout/Simple Box Runs (40 yards)

Exercises without ball:

  1. Sprint to 1st cone
  2. Sprint to 2nd
  3. Sprint to 3rd
  4. Sprint to 4th
  5. Sprint round all

Jog back in all cases
Other exercise include: slides, hops etc

Exercises with ball:

  1. Dribble to 1st cone leave ball
  2. Dribble from 1st to 2nd cone leave ball
  3. Dribble from 2nd to 3rd cone leave ball
  4. Dribble from 3rd to 4th cone leave ball
  5. Dribble from 1st to 4th cone


  • Turn and jog back from each cone.
  • Leave ball and run backwards
  • Leave ball and slide back
  • Leave ball and sprint back to 1st cone

Reps: 2 without ball, 2 with ball, 2 without. 30 seconds rest between reps.

Sets: Beginners 2x, Intermediate 3x, Advanced 4x. 1 minute rest between sets

Vary speed to include walking. 
Develop to timed circuits. 
Record times and total distance covered.

This article is one of 10 articles part of the Soccer Conditioning Circuits Volume 2 Insta-Kit.

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Performance Conditioning Soccer

Ken Kontor is founder and president of Performance Conditioning Inc. His company is the world’s largest single source of sports-specific conditioning information. Among the educational resources provided are Performance Conditioning Volleyball, Cycling and Soccer newsletters now in their 14th year of publishing and 15 sports-specific conditioning books and training card systems. He is a founding member of the USA Volleyball Sports Medicine and Performance Commission and was instrumental in the establishment of the Volleyball Conditioning Accreditation Program (V.C.A.P.) curriculum offered through the USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation program. Among his contributions to this program was writing the curriculum. He has established the Off-bike Conditioning curriculum promoted by USA Cycling. In the past he has worked with USA Roller Sports and USA Triathlon producing conditioning specific newsletters. Prior to the establishment of Performance Conditioning Inc., Mr. Kontor was a founding father, executive director and publications editor of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for 14 years an organization of over 16,000 sport conditioning professionals. He was an original member of the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist committee that established the internationally recognized C.S.C.S. credential. He has traveled extensively throughout the world including the former Soviet Union, East Germany and the Leipzig Institute of Sport, Hungary and Bulgaria with the purpose of introducing their strength and conditioning methods to the NSCA membership. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Inc. and the National Strength and Conditioning Association of Japan. He has lectured extensively on the conditioning of athletes throughout the world.