Before any type of exercise, start with a light massage to the poorly circulated parts of the body like the ankles, calves and arms. This is especially important in cold weather.
The active warmup should begin with 8-10 minutes of light jogging. While jogging, alternate between shuffling sideways, backpedaling, leaping and trunk rotations in order to warm up all parts of the body. The intensity is supposed to pick up gradually.
Static vs dynamic stretching
Your body needs to be well warmed up before you start any type of stretching. Static stretches are performed by assuming a position and holding it for a period of time. This will ease sore muscles and improve flexibility over the long term. Static stretching is recommended at the end of games or training sessions.
Most trainers today agree that stretching before soccer games should be primarily dynamic. Dynamic stretches involve moving the joints in their full-range. Examples include running while bringing the knees high up, heel kicks, lunges, “Carioca” and so on. Dynamic stretches reduce muscle stiffness and increase the blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues.
Dynamic stretching drills (hold your mouse over each image to see an animation)
|Hamstring||Lunge walk||Back lunge||Glute walk|
|Inchworm||Quad walk||Squat walk||Side lunge|
The final step before a game should be the technical warm-up. At this point, the body should be warmed up and loose. Ideally, the technical warm-up should be focused on getting as many touches on the ball as possible. In fact, many teams conduct a compressed practice session right before a match. They usually start off with simple technical drills and build up to a small-sided possession game.
The coll-down is a period of light exercise performed as soon as the game is over. Usually, it involves taking a 5-6 minute jog followed with static stretches. The cool-down helps players recover especially when feeling sore.
|Hip flexor||Quads||Trunk rotation||Trunk sided bend|