Warming Up Exercises


A good soccer warm up meets three important objectives...

1. Decreases the risk of injury
2. Increases agility, skill, power and performance
3. Allows players to mentally prepare and focus on the game or session at hand
A cold muscle is stiff and rigid.  Sudden twisting, turning and stretching can place greater tension on muscles and connective tissue than they can handle
Warming up and stretching the active muscles in soccer can decrease the risk of strains, sprains and muscle tears
Muscles can also produce energy faster when they are warm. This can affect speed and power, not to mention the ability to perform complex skills and movements with accuracy and precision


STATIC STRETCHING

Neck Mobility

  • Flexion/Extension - Tuck your chin into your chest, and then lift your chin upward as far as possible. 6 to 10 repetitions

  • Lateral Flexion - lower your left ear toward your left shoulder and then your right ear to your right shoulder. 6 to 10 repetitions

  • Rotation - Turn your chin laterally toward your left shoulder and then rotate it toward your right shoulder

  • 6 to 10 repetitions


Shoulder Circles

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent

  • Raise your right shoulder towards your right ear, take it backwards, down and then up again to the ear in a smooth action

  • 6 to 10 repetitions

  • Repeat with the other shoulder


Arm Swings

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent

  • Keep the back straight at all times

  • Overhead/Down and back - Swing both arms continuously to an overhead position and then forward, down, and backwards. 6 to 10 repetitions

  • Side/Front Crossover - Swing both arms out to your sides and then cross them in front of your chest

  • 6 to 10 repetitions


Side Bends

  • Stand tall with good posture, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands resting on hips

  • Lift your trunk up and away from your hips and bend smoothly first to one side, then the other, avoiding the tendency to lean either forwards or backwards

  • Repeat the whole sequence 6 to 10 times with a slow rhythm, breathing out as you bend to the side, and in as you return to the centre


Hip circles and twists

  • Circles - With your hands on your hips and feet spread wider than your shoulders, make circles with your hips in a clockwise direction for 6 to 10 repetitions. Then repeat in a counter clockwise direction

  • Twists - Extend your arms out to your sides, and twist your torso and hips to the left, shifting your weight on to the left foot. Then twist your torso to the right while shifting your weight to the right foot

  • 6 to 10 reps on each side


Leg Swings

  • Flexion/Extension- Stand sideways onto the wall

  • Weight on your left leg and your right hand on the wall for balance

  • Swing your right leg forward and backward

  • 6 to 10 repetitions on each leg

  • Cross-Body flexion/Abduction - Leaning slightly forward with both hands on a wall and your weight on your left leg, swing your right leg to the left in front of your body, pointing your toes upwards as your foot reaches its furthest point of motion

  • Then swing the right leg back to the right as far as comfortable, again pointing your toes up as your foot reaches its final point of movement

  • 6 to 10 repetitions on each leg


GROIN

Lunge Stretch

  1. Take a wide stance with your feet turned out approximately 45 degrees.

  2. Bend the left  knee and lunge slightly to the left side to lengthen the inner
    thigh muscles of the extended and straightened right leg.

  3. Go back to the standing position and repeat on the other side.

  4. Repeat three times.

       It is important not to bounce. Approach the stretch gingerly, and hold for at least 30 seconds

CALF
 
Calf Stretch (Gastrocnemius)
Begin this calf stretch with your hands against the wall and your leg to be stretched behind you . Keep your heel down, knee straight and feet pointing forwards. Gently lunge forwards until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf or knee . Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain free
Calf Stretch (Soleus)
 Begin this calf stretch with your hands against the wall and your leg to be stretched in front of you . Keep your heel down. Gently move your knee forward over your toes until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf or Achilles tendon . Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain free


DYNAMIC STRETCHING

Stretches on the move – walking,jogging and skipping motion.

Ankle pops Lightly bounce off both toes while keeping the knees very slighty bent. This is very similar to a skipping motion, except that it is performed while moving forward. The idea is to introduce progressively more range of motion as you move through the prescribed distance

High knees This is basic running form while bringing the knees up higher than normal – ideally beyond your waistline. Aim to keep your feet moving as fast as possible and your ankles, knees, hips and shoulders facing forwards

Butt kicks Similar to high knees except you keep your thighs perpendicular to the ground while kicking your heels up towards your backside   Again, move fast and keep ankles, knees, hips and shoulders in alignment

Carioca Moving laterally to your left, cross your right foot in front of your left, then step with your left, then cross your right foot behind the left and repeat                

Aim for as much hip rotation as possible and keep those feet moving fast! If performed correctly, this looks like a new dance move!   

Step slide Assume a low athletic position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, your ankles, knees, hips and shoulders facing forwards and your knees slightly bent. Pushing off your right leg, slowly step laterally to the left with your left leg, then slide your right leg back to its original position, making sure your feet don’t touch or cross. This is similar to a ‘defensive slide’ in basketball and the coaching cue when performing it is ‘step – slide’

Glute walk In the process of your walk, put your left hand on your left knee and right hand on your left ankle, then pull both in towards your chest                            

Take a step and repeat on the other leg

Back pedal Run backwards maintaining a little bit of a forward lean (shoulders over your toes) to prevent falling. Really ‘reach back’ as far as you can with each step to help stretch the hip flexor muscles

Frankenstein march Keeping your left leg straight, kick it up in front of you as high as you can, trying to tough the fingertips of the opposite arm – basically a straight leg march – then repeat with the right leg. This is an excellent way to increase hamstring flexibility

Knee hug While walking forward, hug your left knee into your chest, then step and repeat on the right leg, continuing with alternate legs          

This is an excellent way to loosen up the glutes and hips

Pointers Keeping your left leg straight (and right leg bent) and left foot pointed upwards, reach down with your right hand to try to touch your left toe.                    

Then take a step and repeat on the other side. This is another excellent movement for enhancing hamstring and low back flexibility

Quad walk While walking forwards, pull your left heel in to your buttocks, then step and repeat with the right leg, continuing with alternate legs                              

This is ideal for loosening up the quadriceps and hip flexors

Low lunge Step forward with your left leg into a lunge position (ankles, knees, hips and shoulders facing forward, torso upright) trying to place your left elbow on the ground as close to your left heel as possible

Over the fence Facing in the opposite direction to the way you want to travel, raise your left knee as high as possible and rotate it behind you as if you were trying to walk backwards and step over an imaginary fence. Repeat on the right leg and continue with alternate legs


COOL DOWN

Cooling down should consist of the following:

  • 5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking - decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles

  • 5 to 10 minutes static stretching exercises

Static stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibres and re-establish their normal range of movement      

These stretches should be held for approximately 10 seconds
What are the benefits of a cool down?
An appropriate cool down will:

  • aid in the dissipation of waste products - including lactic acid

  • reduce the potential for DOMS

Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

  • reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities

  • reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood

  • allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate