The Dynamic Soccer Player
Warm Up Program
The importance of an effective warm up for a soccer player cannot be emphasised enough, and requires the movements to be closely related to, or specific in nature to the rigours associated in the game.
Primarily, a warm up increases various physiological and mental functions that helps programme the central nervous system (CNS) to adapt in preparation for a variety of relevant tasks.
To prevent injuries and restricted range of movement.
It is therefore an essential prerequisite for all soccer players before any other training drills.
Benefits of a Warm Up :
- initiate viscosity of Synovial Fluid in the joints to assist in maximum mobility
- sufficient Increase of body temperature to help blood flow
- help to initiate the growth of blood capillaries to increase cardio output
- efficiently transports blood to muscles actively involved in performing the required movement patterns
- increases the rate of muscular contraction
- increases mental alertness in preparation for more advanced exercises
When performing a warm up for soccer it is best that everything must be performed in a strict sequence. So the transition from one phase to the other acts as a stepping stone in the adaptation and familiarisation of each skill.
For maximum benefits it is recommended that the warm up be split into 4 phases in chronological order :
- Joint Mobility
- Muscle Activation
- Dynamic Warm Ups
- Soccer Specific Movements
PHASE 1 JOINT MOBILITY
This first phase of the soccer player warm up concentrates on the body producing synovial fluid to the joints.
This behaves biologically simular to engine oil in a car, and helps lubricate the joint surfaces to ensure minimum friction occurs prior to executing any activity.
*The viscosity of synovial fluid is many times greater than engine oil !!*
- Finger Circles:
Hold hands out in front of you and proceed to splay fingers in a sequential fashion ( little finger first to thumb )
- Wrist Circles :
Hold the arms in a surrender pose with fists gently clenched slowly rotate the wrists ( clockwise and anti clockwise )
12 reps anti / clockwise
- Snake Wrist Rolls:
Interlock fingers and roll hands and wrists in a wave fashion ( upwards / inwards / outwards )
10 in each direction
- Prayer Wrist Stretch :
Holding the hands in the pray position head height, push the hands down while pressing against each other as far as a you can comfortably.
Repeat 12 reps
- Russian Bayonet :
Position one arm in a scarecrow posture with elbow at shoulder height and forearm hanging at a 90° angle, wrist bent, fingers pointing outwards. Begin circling forearm in clockwise and anticlockwise direction while keeping the elbows stationary. Repeat for opposite arm.
12 Reps clockwise / anti clockwise
- NeckRolls :
Using your chin gently roll the neck across both your shoulders and chest from right to left without rotating your neck backwards ( right and left = 1rep )
- Trapezius Shrugs with Knee Bends (Forwards / Backwards) :
While keeping your arms at your sides gently rotate your shoulders backwards while simultaneously bending the knees. Repeating in a forward mode
- Windmill Arm Swings (Forwards / Backwards):
12 reps forwards / backwards
- Torso Twists :
Keeping your arms as loose as possible rhythmically rotate them from side to side allowing them to gently slap the sides of your torso while twisting the opposite direction ankle for maximum twist.
- Hip Rotations :
Rotate hips as if you are using an imaginary hoopla clockwise and anti clockwise
12 reps clockwise / anti clockwise
- Open leg Knee Rotations :
Stand with legs shoulder width apart and proceed to rotate each individual knee in the opposite direction to each other ( right knee clockwise, left knee anti clockwise ).
Cup both knee joints with your hands for support. Repeat in the opposite direction. Keep knee circles small.
12 clockwise / anticlockwise
- Ankle Rotations ( standing or seated ) :
Standing : While facing forward feet about shoulder width apart, proceed to draw a circle with your knee, this in turn will allow the ankle joint to automatically rotate for a more efficient Range of Motion ( ROM ). Repeat in the other direction and then change feet.
12 clockwise and anti clockwise.
Sit on the floor with either your left or right leg in a figure of four position across your straight leg. Grab hold of the bent leg ankle with your same side hand, and proceed to rotate the ankle clockwise and anticlockwise with the opposite hand.
12 reps both directions
- Self Foot Massage :
This is an optional warm up exercise, but can be of great benefit to soccer players in helping increase blood circulation and mental alertness through stretching and squeezing the toes.
- Toes -
Gently squeeze and pull each individual toe
- Sole -
Firmly massage down the centre of the sole with one thumb on top of the other, moving on to circular pressure on the arch and ball of foot.
PHASE 2 MUSCLE ACTIVATION
Muscle Activation exercises help fire up underactive or dormant muscle groups, that play an important role in stabilizing a soccer players Prime Mover muscles during multi directional activity.
These exercises work in very much the same way that a car battery sends electrical impulses to the engine through each individual spark plug. Eliminating over tightness that is a bi product of over compensation by opposing muscle inactivity.
Muscle Activation often tends to be neglected when it comes to general warm-ups, but should be included without fail in any soccer players training programme.
- Single Leg Bridge (Glute / Hip Flexor) :
Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other leg straight and elevated at about 45°. Actively tense your glute muscle and extend the hips upwards as far as you can by pushing through the heels.
10 reps L/R
- Straight Leg Raise ( Hip Flexor) :
- Inside Leg Raise (Adductors) :
Lying on your side, place the top leg in a figure of 4 position over the bottom leg with the sole of the foot flat on the floor. Proceed to elevate the bottom leg about 6” - 8”
10 reps L/R
- Prone Alternate Arm / Leg Raise
( Hip flexors / Hamstrings / Glutes ) :
Face down with arms and legs extended, alternate lifting opposing legs and arms simultaneously.
10 reps L/R
- Fire Hydrant (Hip / Glute Medius) :
Kneeling on all fours with your hands underneath the shoulders, and head naturally aligned. Lift either leg to the side, with the knees bent and your heel touching your butt, while maintaining body allignment with no twisting.
5 - 10 reps L/R
- Fire Hydrant / Forward / Backwards Circles
(Hip Girdle) : Adopt the same starting position as the previous Fire Hydrant exercise, but this time circulate each leg first backwards and then forwards. Remember to keep the body aligned at all times.
5 - 10 reps L/R
PHASE 3 DYNAMIC WARM UP
The dynamic warm up acts as a pre requisite for a soccer specific warm up.
Taking the soccer player through a complete range of athletic movements that systematically condition major muscle groups to help adapt to the more rigorous and customised forms of soccer fitness training/soccer moves.
This session should be of low to moderate intensity, allowing for a sufficient increase in heart rate yet not to excessive to minimise fatigue.
Position 2 cones
away from one another, and proceed to perform each exercise between both cones x 2 reps
. The soccer player then jogs back once they have reached the second cone..
- Heel to High Toe Walk :
Performed in a slow rhythmic action, roll your weight from the heel to the ball of your foot on one leg ending in tiptoes. With the opposite leg in a high knee position and opposing arms thrust back and forward mimicking a slow running action.
- Heel Flicks :
Moving forward with arms at your sides, rapidly flick your heels against your backside, gently touching the sides of the feet with your hands
- High Knees Skips :
Perform rapid action high knees with quick feet in a skipping action
- High Hops :
A slowed down version of the high knee skip, execute a rhythmic jumping action concentrating on height
- Long Hops :
Same action as High Hops, but this time push and stretch forward for length, thrusting the front knee high.
- Inside to Outside Knee Rotations :
Keeping your arms extended above your head, alternately rotate the hips and knees externally as if clearing a small hurdle, while moving forward.
- Outside to Inside Knee Rotations :
Reverse action of the previous drill where the hips and knees rotate internally
- Inside / Outside - Outside / Inside Knee Rotations :
A combination of the two previous drills where you alternately rotate each leg inside and out
- Nike Lateral squats :
Standing side on, move to the right or left into a lateral lunge, touching the bent leg foot with both hands. Without pausing shift weight onto the opposite side lunge touching the foot with the hands, and then jump / skip back into the first lunge. Move forward on one side, then repeat for the other.
- Carioca :
While standing, proceed to move sideways with your right leg over your left and then sliding your left leg behind your right. The right leg then slides behind the left, and the left leg sliding in front of the right.
Repeat the process in a fast dynamic fashion, concentrating on quick feet, and opposite upper body and hip action.
- Walking High Arm Lunge and Twist :
Step forward with arms above your head into a forward lunge, simultaneously twisting the body either left or right on the same side leg.
Repeat on opposite leg moving forward.
NOTE: Keep your back straight at all times, and activate your glutes and core when pushing up from the lunge.
- 5 Press Ups / 10 Mountain Climbers
(Knee outside arms) :
Perform 5 rapid press ups, before going straight into 10 mountain climbers, taking the knees to the outside of the elbows.
- Spiderman :
- Pogo hops :
Perform rapid mini jumps on the spot, preferably on a soft surface. Moving forward, backward, sideways etc.30 secs
PHASE 4 SOCCER SPECIFIC WARM UP
Following a dynamic warm up, the soccer player then moves onto the soccer specific warm up, where the emphasis is to mimic soccer moves during game situations.
Position 3 cones about 20m apart from one another and perform exercises continuously between the length of the 3 cones.2 x lengths of each exercise.
Soccer Player Warm Up Drill 1
Between cone 1 and 3 (40m)
Jog back to cone 1 once you have reached cone 3.
Soccer Player Warm Up Drill 2
- RAISE LEFT KNEE TO RIGHT / SWING BOTH ARMS TO LEFT
(REPEAT FOR OTHER SIDES)
- JUMP HIGH OFF LEFT LEG - SKIP - REPEAT OFF RIGHT
- RUN BACKWARDS 5 STRIDES - RUN FORWARDS 5 STRIDES
- JOG 5 STRIDES - MOVE LATERALLY RIGHT AND BACK TO MIDDLE- JOG 5 STRIDES ( REPEAT FOR LEFT )
- JOG 5 STRIDES - MOVE LATERALLY LEFT AND RIGHT AND BACK TO MIDDLE - JOG 5 STRIDES (REPEAT WITH RIGHT LEG LEAD)
- JOG BACKWARDS 5 STRIDES - STRIDE LATERALLY RIGHT 5 STRIDES - STRIDE LATERALLY LEFT 5 STRIDES
(REPEAT SEQUENCE WITH LEFT LEAD LATERAL STRIDES INTO RIGHT)
- JOG TO 2ND CONE 40% MAX SPEED - RUN TO 1ST CONE 70% MAX SPEED - (REPEAT)
- RUN TO 2ND CONE 40% - RUN TO 1ST CONE 50% - RUN TO 2ND CONE 60% - RUN TO 1ST CONE 70%
Between Cone 1 and 2 (20m)
- 3 QUICK FEET + SIMULATED PASS (RIGHT / LEFT) FORWARDS TO CONE 2 - BACKWARDS TO CONE 1
- 3 QUICK FEET + SIMULATED SHOT (RIGHT / LEFT) FORWARDS TO CONE 2 - BACKWARDS TO CONE 1
- 3 QUICK FEET + OUTSIDE TO INSIDE LEG SWING (FORWARDS TO CONE 2 - BACKWARDS TO CONE 1)
SOCCER PLAYER COOL DOWN
During rigorous exercise a soccer players body produces a certain amount of waste products and toxins that are a by product of metabolising glucose for energy.
When running and sprinting every soccer player creates lactate within the muscles, which can occasionally reach high levels. Causing it to react with other chemicals within the body through not removing it quick enough.
Lactic Acid formulates through this reaction.
After training, the blood needs to be encouraged to keep circulating to avoid this waste accumulating and stagnating in the body. Pooling primarily in the legs where it creates muscle soreness and possible dizziness and fainting.
Low intensity aerobics and relaxed stretching assists in helping your pulse rate to regulate back to a steady resting Heart Rate. As well as returning muscles back to their original length.
A mild form of self massage is also very beneficial along with self myofacial release techniques.
The cool down can be very often overlooked in soccer training, but its benefits significantly effect and contribute to a soccer players ability and health in general.
LOW INTENSITY AEROBIC WARM DOWN
Still keeping with soccer specific movement. Zig Zag Runs provide a excellent way of gradually reducing and regulating the blood and muscles back to there original state by combining linear and lateral actions.
Zig Zag Runs
Using half of a soccer field (50m) proceed to run the length in a smooth diagonal ‘S’ shaped fashion, alternating between left and right every 5 strides. Work at about 25%.
As the name implies, these stretches act to help and aid in the soccer players recouperation of post work out muscle fatigue and are to be performed in a totally relaxed state.
Light contractions can be held anywhere from 30secs to 2 mins depending on the individuals timescale.
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