Why are Soccer Players Skinny? Lean and Mean!

Soccer involves a number of twists and turns in the game and this demands the players to be flexible. This flexibility often requires players to be skinny so they get to excel in the game.

Soccer players are professional athletes. There is minimal fat on a soccer player, so their Body Mass Index is super low. A soccer player can play three games in a week during the peak season. 

Training is for most players over 7 days, so for most of the season they won’t get a day off. Although some of these days will be spent doing recovery and recuperation work, to rest and repair their body. 

The majority of players are what we class as skinny but that is far from diminishing their strength and attributes. Although they look like they could benefit from a large meal, they are certainly stronger than most. 

Body Mass Index

The body mass calculation tells us the amount of fat a person has. Here is the image below, it shows us that a healthy person has between 18.5-25.

File:BMI chart.svg
BMI Chart

Anything less than 18.5 is unhealthy as our bodies need fat, because it’s our fuel. Low levels of BMI can lead to injuries, poor recovery and feeling faint.

Let’s take a look at one top player to see if they fall into the category of skinny or healthy.

BMI: 20.9 (Normal Body Weight), Height: 5’9″ (1.75 m), Weight: 141 lbs (64 kg)

Neymar BMI Calculation

Neymar is on the lower end of the BMI scale, but not too close to the unhealthy side.

Other Sports and Weight

In some sports, it requires the athlete to have substantial body weight/mass/fat to perform. Consider a boxer. A boxer can vary in weight, but this is used technically for the heavyweights. A heavyweight has no limits on what they weigh, so they can adjust it to prepare for a fight.

The weight will give them that extra punching power, but it will also slow them down. So it’s a trade-off between the two – power or speed. 

A shot-putter is generally heavy/fat for a reason – they need that force. I’m sure there are professional shot putters that are slim, but for the most part, they carry the weight in order to put their force behind the shot. 

Another example would be a sumo wrestler – I’ve never seen a skinny one, have you? When grappling a 300-pound sumo fighter, you need that weight that grounds you and stabilizes you to enforce your power. 

Demands of a Soccer Game

To be a top professional soccer player you need to be able to run miles, at a consistent speed. Not only long distances but also stopping, starting, turning, kicking, tackling, heading, and sliding.

You know if you play the game, it’s easy enough to run, but when you stop and start it takes the energy out of you. If you are a tall player carrying a few extra pounds, it won’t be long before you need to have a break. 

The Game

Soccer is an intesive game and require many attributes from players. If the players are not in top condition, their performance will start to shown on the field.

You might of noticed it yourself when you’ve been playing or watching a game, after 80 minutes, players make more mistakes are there are more goals during this time.

The desire and intensity builds up, with the final few minutes remaining, everthing is on the line. If you counter attack a team and they counter attack you, you can be out of breath soon enough.

Central Core

One of the biggest factors for a soccer player dbeing strong is that they need to strong in the core of their muscles. This is not an easy thing to build, it take many years of training and playing.

The core muscles allow players to have the strength, but without the wieght. That is why many soccer players use yoga to stregthen their core muscles.

Core muscles run down the center of a person. So it the small muscles along the center of the back and the chest. This allows them to twist and turn effectively without losing their breath.

Who is the skinniest soccer player?

Two of the most popular soccer stars that are skinny are Di Maria and Neymar. Di Maria is 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. Neymar is 5 foot 9 inches and weighs 150 pounds.

Take a look at both of them in action. And although they are skinny, they are strong enough to take on the biggest of opponents.

Di Maria Highlights
Neymar Highlights

For those two examples, they are shorter players, but what about tall players. One fine example of a soccer player who is tall but skinny is Peter Crouch – well known to the Premier League but now retired.

Peter crouch is 6 foot 7 inches and weighs 165 pounds. Using the formula that we used before, we can calculate that his BMI is 18.5! Making him the skinniest soccer player.

Skinny Soccer Players FAQ

Read More…