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An Introduction to Soccer Warm Ups
soccer warm ups, when your taking the time to work on your soccer skills on your own is so important. It is a common mistake to just run out on a ﬁeld and start doing all kinds of crazy moves and smashing the ball into the net without any kind of warming up at all.
Unfortunately that can be a recipe for disaster because you can end up with an injury such as a muscle strain or even worse a tear! Please make sure you warm up fully before you start to really get into your practice.
There are many different way to preform soccer warm ups, here is a basic soccer warm up great for training alone.
Firstly, grab the ball and go for a simple jog around the ﬁeld two to three times and dribble the ball very lightly while jogging. Incorporate some jogging with bringing your knees up to 90 degrees as well as ﬂicking your heels up to touch your butt as well. To do this while you have the ball, just play it out in front of you ( a nice simple side foot pass) about 20 yards then do the knees or heels up as you move towards your ball.
This simple exercise will start to warm you up physically and mentally. It will help your body realize that it is getting ready to work and it will also help you mentally focus on why you are out there. Take the time to think about what you want to achieve with this practice session and block out all thoughts that are unrelated to what you need to do on the soccer field today.
Once you have completed the jog, then spend a little time working with the ball in a way that gives you lots of touches on the ball (this is a soccer warm up after all) , gets your heart rate going and has you start to sweat. Nothing too tough, just alternate touches on the top of the ball (soccer boxing) and tapping the ball side to side between your feet while being on your toes. Speed up these exercises as necessary to get your blood pumping.
Then do some more dribbling with the ball, say from the top of the penalty area to the half way line and back, and build up your speed as you progress, The main thing to remember is to not to exert yourself too much too quickly. Patience here is so important because if you step it up too quickly and injure yourself, you may be out of the game for weeks.
Then do some shorter bursts of work, say from the touchline to the penalty spot and back, dribbling with the ball and turning quickly as you warm up further and start to get out of breath.
Also, leave the ball aside and do some jogging backwards and sideways to loosen up and warm up your muscles more. Finally combine some forward jogging, backward jogging and sideways jogging, changing from one to another and changing direction as well.
Finish off your soccer warm up with some juggling to get some good touches on the ball, but make sure you don’t lunge for the ball yet because you haven’t completed the stretching of your muscles at this stage.
The goal of soccer warm ups is to warm up your muscles, get the heart rate going and begin to sweat while having lots of simple touches on the ball. You are now ready to move on to the next phase of your warm up where you warmup specific muscle groups.
When you do your soccer warm ups as part of the team you will usually have a coach or an assistant coach running the soccer warm ups.
Amateur teams may let their players perform soccer warm ups themselves before a game or practice whereas professional teams will always have one of their ﬁtness coaches running and overseeing the warm up. Often once the general warm up has been completed the team is split up into the starting players and the reserves. Also within the starting players there may be further dividing up into strikers, midﬁelder and defenders. Of course the goalkeepers always do their own speciﬁc warm up, once they have completed the general warm up with their team mates.
Many players like to have some time during the soccer warm up to do their own thing. They know their own bodies best and they may have also developed some habits that work for them.
Learn to enjoy the soccer warm up, as they are such an important part of developing your game.[/tab][tab title="Upper Body"]
Soccer Warm Ups – Upper Body
A upper body warm up is so important to performing at your peak because as a soccer player you use your upper body for sprinting, jumping, shielding, tackling, turning and so many other movements required for game play.
It is important to preform a correct upper body warm up since a strain or tear of a upper body muscle (e.g the stomach) can lead to a long absence from the game, trust me i know! The upper body and core muscles help stabilize the hips while running, and in my case this destabilization caused a tear in the meniscus of the hip joint…. NOT GOOD!
1.Start your upper body soccer warm up by standing legs shoulder width apart and hands on hips. Simply rotate your body in a circle from the core clockwise for thirty seconds. Repeat in a counter clockwise rotation. Repeat three times.
2.Next, feet shoulder width apart and bend ninety degrees at the hips. Bend arms at the elbows towards the chest and rotate the arms forwards, gradually increasing the speed. Repeat, rotating in a backwards direction. Do this three times.
3.Then stand up, feet shoulder width apart and extend arms out ninety degrees parallel to the ground. Rotate the arms forwards in big circles, again gradually increasing speed. Repeat in a backwards direction. Do this three times.
4.From the same standing position, rotate extended arms forwards diagonally across the body interchanging between the left and right arm. Gradually increase the speed. Repeat the same motion but backwards. Do this three times.
5.Twist the core by standing feet shoulder width apart and rotate the body gently to the left and then to the right, each time trying to rotate a little further. Repeat ten times.
6.Stretch out the back by standing with feet shoulder width apart, place hands behind the back at the bottom of the back. Gently lean back, looking up at the sky, stretching out the lower back. Hold for twenty seconds and repeat three times.
7.Next move on to the neck. The neck provides power and accuracy for headers, a great example being Didier Drogba’s equalizing goal for Chelsea F.C. in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. One of the best headers you will ever see!
8.Stand feet shoulder width apart, hands on hips and rotate your head fully clockwise. Then after six rotations, repeat in an anti or counter clockwise direction.
9.Then stretch the neck down by placing the chin on the chest and holding for 15 seconds and then follow this by stretching the head backwards and looking up at the sky and as far back as possible. Do this three times.
10.Finally hold the head under your jaw with your right hand with the left hand on the top of the back of the head and pull the head to the right, holding for 15 seconds. Repeat using the opposite set up stretching the head to the left. Do this three times
That concludes your upper body warm up, but please remember if your do not feel warmed up, YOUR NOT! If this is the case, i recommend starting at the first step and working through the upper body soccer warm up again to be sure you correctly warmed up.
Soccer Warm Ups – Calf
When preforming a calf warm up, the first step is understanding what the calf muscles job is.
Firstly the term ‘Calf’ refers to the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles that make up the back of the lower leg. Beneath these lies the Calcaneal Tendon (often called the Achilles Tendon). These are the muscles responsible for pointing our toes (up or down) , and therefore play a big part in running and controlling stability while on the move.
When doing a calf warm up we’re all familiar with the run of the mill static calf stretching, this is where we take one foot forwards and lean onto it, keeping the back heel down, but did you know that these are no longer recommended for a warm up? There are many reasons, including: decreases in muscular strength and power, and dramatic cooling of the pre-warmed muscle.
This is where Dynamic Stretching comes in.
Dynamic Stretching is a type of warm up stretch that uses your momentum as well as opposing muscular contractions to propel your muscle into a stretch position while at no time exceeding the muscles maximum Range of Motion. Preforming dynamic stretching is an excellent method of stretching before exercise, and helps prepares our body for activity. This is done by increasing blood flow and in turn increases blood oxygen to the muscles and other soft tissues. This in turn all goes on to help further reduce our risk of injuries.
What you want to do is mobilize and stretch the calf & achilles group whilst doing your calf warming up, and the best way to do this, is to carry out the following exercises, after completing our dynamic quadriceps warm-up, start with:
Calf Warm Up- Heel lift climber x20/ side
Place your hands on a wall and take the feet back, so you’re at approximately 45 degrees. Now alternate lifting each heel in a controlled, but slightly lifted tempo.
Calf Warm Up- Around the clock stretch x3/ side
Plant one foot down and take the other to different numbers on a clock. So, starting with your left foot planted step the right to 11 (10 when experienced & ROM allows) and back to the centre. Repeat all the way around to 4 or 5 (ROM dependant). Now the key here is to make sure that the supporting foot stays flat on the floor, but also the the shin moves closer to the top of the foot during each stretch otherwise it won’t be stretching the calf at all. Also, be sure to move the hips throughout too. When stepping to 11 (or 1), the hips should rotate left (or right) and when at 3-onwards (or 9-onwards) that the hips open right (or left). [/tab][tab title="Hamstring"]
Soccer Warm Ups – Hamstring
When preforming a hamstring warm up we’re all familiar with the standard, static hamstring stretches, where we touch our toes, or place one foot forward while sitting back, but did you know that these are no longer recommended for a warm up? There are many reasons, including: decreases in muscular strength and power, and dramatic cooling of the pre-warmed muscle.
Let me introduce you to Dynamic Stretching. Dynamic Stretching (or from here on, DS) is a type of stretching that uses momentum and opposing muscular contractions to propel the muscle into a stretch without exceeding the muscles maximum Range of Motion (ROM). Dynamic stretching is an excellent method of hamstring warm up and stretching that prepares our body for activity, by increasing blood flow and therefore blood oxygen, to the muscles and soft tissues and goes on to improve our performance and reduce further our risk of injuries.
What you want to do is mobilize and stretch the hamstrings whilst warming up, and the best way to do this, is to carry out the following exercises:
Hamstring warm up exercise- Leg swings x10/ side
Standing up straight, swing the left leg forward – keeping it straight – and touch the toes with the right hand, as you lower extend the leg backwards to stretch the hip flexors too. Then, drop it down and repeat on the other side.
Hamstring Soccer Warm Up Exercise – Single-leg Pendulum x5/ side
Plant one foot on the floor and keep a straight line from the back of the other foot to the back of the head. Now lean forward, reaching to touch the toes on the foot that’s on the floor, lifting the opposite leg as you lower, then return to the top, change legs and repeat.
Hamstring Soccer Warm Up Exercise – The Forearm Lunge x5/ side
Take a big step forward, into a lunge, but drop down so that both hands are on the floor, then push the hips down toward the ground to stretch the back hip and front glute and then straighten the front leg while leaning as far forward as you can to get the stretch in that front hamstring. Stay in this position, drop down and do all repetitions before changing legs. Be sure to hold each move for 1-2 seconds.
Dont forget, good warm-up should consist of the following:
Short, easy pulse-raising activity, easy specific movement drills and dynamic stretches.
Static stretches should be done as part of your cool-down after a game or training session.
Soccer Warm Ups – Quadriceps
We’re all familiar with the standard quadriceps warm up using a static stretch, where we hold the heel to the glute and push the hips forward. But did you know that these are no longer recommended for a warm up? There are many reasons, including: decreases in muscular strength and power, and dramatic cooling of the pre-warmed muscle.
Let me introduce the Dynamic way Stretching. (DS) Dynamic Stretching is a reasonably new type of stretching that uses momentum and opposing the muscular contractions to help propel the muscle into a stretch of muscle fibers without exceeding the muscles max Range of Motion or ROM. Dynamic stretching is an great method of stretching for soccer that prepares our body for high intensity activity. This is done by increasing blood flow and therefore oxygenated blood to the muscles and soft tissues. this goes on to improve our performance and reduce any further our risk of injuries.
You want to mobilize and stretch the quadriceps whilst warming up and the most efficiant way to do this, is to carry out the following exercises:
Quadriceps Soccer Warm Up exercise 1-Body weight squats x 15
Quadriceps Soccer Warm Up exercise 2- Alternate butt kicks x 10/side controlled, not running. Gently from one side to the other
Quadriceps Soccer Warm Up exercise 3- Dynamic Quad stretch: x 10/side
Take the foot back, as you would for a regular quad stretch, but as you pull the heel to the glue, extend up onto tip-toes of the supporting leg. Drop and repeat on the other side.
If you want more info on soccer warm ups, Check out Wikipedia – Click Here[/tab][/tabgroup]