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Flexibility And Warm-Up

   
I haven't seen too many things on this topic, and most of the stuff on it is kinda hidden. So i'd like to be the first to enlighten people on this aspect of soccer.

Proper flexibility and warm-up before practicing or a game is often overlooked. For optimal training and match performance, players should strech and warm-up everytime before activity.
Although streching and warming up are performed together, they both have different objectives and results. Players must never confuse the two activities. Flexibility exercies are used to increase the length of the muscles and increase the range of motion about a joint. Warm-up, the movement link between stretching and the game, progressively prepares the player for competition.


WARM-UP

An effective warm-up includes gamelike movement that prepares the athlete for all-out effort. An athlete should perform multidirectional movements that slowly but progressively increase toward 100% effort. The warm-up should begin with slow, simple movements and move toawrd quicker, more complex gamelike movements.
Injury is often related to a lack of pretraining and precompetition warm-up. The warm-up serves 3 purposes: First, it raises body temperature in a progressive manner, enabling the muscles to contract and relax more easily, thus making movement more effective. Second, it increases blood flow, making more oxygen and nutrients available to working muscles. Third, if it is soccer related it can provide a practice effect and enhance players skills through repetition.

FLEXIBILITY

Gained through passive (assisted) or active (self-administered) effort, flexibility is acquired predominantly by stretching. Increasing range of motion at a joint by increasing the length of the muscles associated with the joint is the main objective. With good flexibility, players can perform soccer movements like shooting, feinting, and attacking with correct technique and less risk of injury. For example, and inflexible lower body makes it difficult to run at top speed, strike the ball properly, or get good height in the air while jumping. As far as injury is concerned, the most dangerous positions occur when the body is unexpectedly subjected to extreme ranges of motion. If an athlete has better-than-average range of motion, these positions are less likely to be risky.
The two basic types of stretching are static stretching and ballistic stretching. Static stretching generally means a slow stretching effort in which teh athlete reaches a point of a light burning or an inability to stretch further. The athlete then holds the position for a given time, ranging from 5 to 30 seconds or more. In ballistic stretching the athlete performs the same stretching steps but instead of holding the stretch, he or she prepeated ly recoilds and stretches the muscle in a bounding manner.
Bouncing, or ballistic stretching, is appropriately denounced because the practice increases the risk of injury. When a muscle is rapidly and forcibly stretched, special mechanisms in the muscle bring about an immediate contraction. This circumstance can cause pulls or strains. Although static stretching is safe and effective, I prefer something in between. Instead of holding a position for a given period, you continually reach or push the stretch in a deliberate, controlled manner. When you feel a light burning sensation or progress has stopped, you relax and immediately resume the stretch. You should pus h the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 3 to 4 times.

SEQUENCE OF PREPARATION FOR TRAINING OR COMPETITION

PLayers must perform the stretching routine and warm-up in the proper order. Although various routines may be equally effective, I feel that the following sequenceing best suits soccer players: light movement or easy jogging; joint movement; stretching sequences with the standing upper body, the standing lower body, and the seated and lying lower body; and finally the warm-up.

1. Light Movement
Light movement, juggling, or a short distance job starts the body in motion and starts the blood flowing to the musculature while creating a n avenue for the increase in body temperature to come. The jog can be between 400 and 1,200 yards (I think thats 366 to 1097 metres) and the low intensity movement drills (backpedaling, jogging, lateral shuffles, etc.) can be repeated over a distance of 10 to 20 yards (9 to 18 metres).

2. Joint Movement
Working from the inside out, you start by lossening the joints, tendons, and ligaments. Moving the joints back and forth or in a circular motion will help lubricate the joints and serve as the beginning of dynamic movement.


BIG ARM CIRCLES
with you arms outstretched laterally and straight, make three to four foot circles by rotating at the shoulder. 15 to 20 times, change direction.

SMALL ARM CIRCLES
arms outstretched laterally & straight, make 6 to 12 inch (15 to 30 centimeter) circles by rotating at the shouder.

STANDING TWIST
with your arms outstretched laterally, twist at the waist with minimal turning of your hips. Keep your feet in the starting position. 15-30 seconds

TWIST BEHIND
follow the same steps you used for the standing twist, but perform a full turn to face the direction opposite that of the stance. The turning of your hip is necessary. Do one turn every 2 seconds. 15-30 seconds

HIP FLEXOR ROTATION
place your hands on your hips, set your feet at shoulder-width, and bend your knees slightly. Rotate your upper body clockwise at your waist in the biggest circle possible. 10 to 15 circles, change direction

KNEE FLEX
stand with your feet close together and place your hands on your knees. Continually flex your knees, no father than about 30 degrees. 20-30 reps

KNEE CIRCLES
stand with your feet close together and place your hands on your knees. Rotate your knees in a clockwise or counterclockwise movement. 10-15 times

HEEL AND TOE RAISE
with your legs staight, rock up on your toes while flexing your calf and then rock back on your heels with your toes pointing up. 15-20 rep for each movement

3. Standing Upper-Body Stretches

LATERAL REACH
set your feet a little wider than shoulder width. put your right hand on your right hip. turn to the right and reach across with your left arm extended. Foot movement should be minimal. Repeat to the other side. Continuous reach, not hold for 15-20 secs each side

OVERHEAD LATERAL BEND
set your feet at hip width. put your right hand on your right hip and extend your left arm straight up. bend and reach to the right side and repeat to the left. continuous reach, not hold for 15-20 secs each side.

TRICEPS STRETCH
hold your right elbow with your left hand behind your head. Repeat to the right. Continuous stretch, not hold for 15-20secs each side.

4. Standing Lower-Body Stretches

STANDING HAMSTRING
spread your legs about twice the width of your shoulders. Keeping your legs straight and your head in line with your upper body, reach with both arms to your right foot, to the middle of the stance, and to your left foot. Bend both knees before rising and moving to stretch the next area. Continuous stretch, not hold for 15 to 20 seconds in each position.

LATERAL GROIN STRETCH
squat over your right leg with your heel flat or on your toes. facing forward, extend your left leg laterally, resting your foot on your heel. the focus of the stretch will change with the lean of your upper body (forward or left) and the direction in which you point your foot (straight up or forward). 15-20secs in each direction.

THREE-POINT LUNGE
start in the lunge position - left knee on the floor with your lower leg behind your body and right leg in front of your body with the foot flat on the floor and your knee at 90 degrees. For position 1, maintain your upper body in an upright position while pushing forward. For position 2, turn to the left and lower your right elbow toward the floor inside your right leg. For position 3, grab your left foor with your hand. Pull it to your butt and lean forward. 15 to 20 seconds at each position

5. Seated and and Lying Lower-Body Stretches

SEATED HAMSTRING
sit and spread your legs as far as is comfortable. With your arms outstretched, reach toward your left foot, toward your right foot, and then forward, keeping your head and chest up. Continuous stretch, for 15 to 20 seconds

BUTTERFLY
in a seated position bring both feet into the middle of your body as far as is comfortable. Hold both feet with both hands and pull your chest to your feet. Continuous stretch for 15-20 seconds.

LYING LOWER BACK
lying on your back with your arms outstretched to the side of your body at 90 degrees, raise your left leg to a position perpendicular to the floor and then lower it to your right hand. It is not necessary to keep your leg straight when lowering to your hand. 15-20 seconds

Whew, guess that typing class finally came in handy. ;) I hope you learned about the importance of stretching and warm-up before activity and how it can decrease your risk of injury. (had to look up some of the stretches :? )[/b]
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Nice post! Very helpful. Thank you so much!
   
Glad to help :)
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hey man, that was a great post, sure to help a lot of people. it seems like u put a lot of effort in it too, i think u deserve some stars!
   
Thanks, iwannagopro. I don't want to make the post too terribly long but i'll add in some stuff that I didn't have time to do before. eg. more stretches and some warm-up drills. But right now I gotta go freestyle :D
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soem more strectchs added. seated and lying lower-body stretches.
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heres some additional info
Soccer Warm-up
Preparing your body for soccer is a process that is often overlooked, especially at the lower levels of the game. There are three main aspects that must be touched upon in order to achieve maximum physiological readiness.
Circulation - Picking up the Metabolic Rate
Passive
Before jumping into a competitive event, the body's cardio-vascular activity needs to be increased gradually. Up to 30 minutes before kickoff, it is recommended to drink tea (preferably with a lemon and sweetened by honey rather than sugar.) The tea contains caffeine, which will increase a player's heart rate. Tea is rich in Sodium, a mineral that regulates and balances the amount of fluids outside the cells in the body, aiding in muscle contraction and nerve function. Sodium is usually lost during endurance events like soccer in the means of sweat.
Prior to going out to the field, light massage should be applied to the poorly circulated parts of the body like the ankles, knees, lower back and shoulders. This is especially important in cold weather.
Active
The active warm-up must begin about 20-30 minutes before the actual event. During this process, the body has to be warmed up through active exercises such as light jogging. The intensity should be gradually picked up. Incorporating different muscle groups at this stage will uniformly warm up the body.
Musculature - Stretching
Stretching is misunderstood and misused by many coaches at the lower levels of the game. First off, it must never be used on "cold muscles." Unless you're body has been warmed up, stretching can only cause harm. Remember that it should never feel painful. Flexibility is influenced by genetic factors. The same result cannot be expected for two different players when it comes to stretching.
Static
Static stretches are done by gradually assuming a position and holding it for a period of time. The only advantage of using Static stretches before a game is that they will ease sore muscles and calm down the player. It is true that they also improve flexibility but only when used in a long-term program.
Ballistic
Dynamic or Ballistic stretches involve moving a specific joint in full-range from one extreme to the other. It has been shown that Ballistic stretching decreases a risk factor for injury called muscle stiffness. Muscle stiffness is the ratio between change in muscle resistance and the change in muscle length. Static stretches have no effect on muscle stiffness. Therefore, stretches, done before soccer games or practices, need to be Ballistic. Nearly all established teams address only Ballistic stretches in their pre-game routine and go right into a technical workout.
Coordination - Technical-specific Workout
The final step before kickoff is the technical warm-up. At this point, the body should be well warmed up. Ideally, the technical warm-up should incorporate all four major areas of skill including kicking, dribbling, ball control and tackling. In fact, many teams conduct a "compressed" technical practice just before they actually play. They start off with simple technical drills and build up to a small-sided possession game.
from soccer-training-info.com
   
zizou10-5 wrote:
from soccer-training-info.com

Really? I could have sworn I wrote that! :)