Best Warm Up Exercises for Soccer

There’s always room for improvement and this process starts with oneself. To prove yourself in the soccer field one has to keep developing their skills and work on building stamina. With the right warm-up exercises before a soccer match, one can build running endurance and play tactfully in the soccer match. Keep reading this article to know about the importance of warm-up exercises and some of the best warm up exercises for soccer.  

Best Warm Up Exercises for Soccer

Why are warm-up exercises needed?

Warm-up exercises before any physical activity allow the body to get started. The gentle movements help the blood and oxygen to flow throughout the body preparing it for the heavy physical movement.

Alongside loosening and warming up the body, these exercises allow an individual to create mindfulness before a match. Warm-up exercises are necessary for both the body and the mind. It significantly helps in stress management by reducing pressure on the heart.  

Warm-up exercises prepare the body for difficult and intense movements which help to prevent injury. All the parts of the body may not be at comfort before a soccer match.

Warm-up exercises help to focus on the body part experiencing discomfort and gives chance to normalize it before the match. For an improved performance running endurance is a key factor.

Warm-up exercises help to increase agility and coordination preparing oneself for the best performance. Apart from preventing injuries and improving performance, warm-up exercises also ensure better health.

The heat dissipation mechanism gets activated in the body which keeps the body cool during the match. 

Not doing warm-up exercises properly before a match can lead to unwanted injuries and create soreness in body parts. It can also result in a lower performance level during the match. Not giving time to warm-up exercises will keep the player absentminded in the match. 

Warm-up exercises for individual

For beginners, the warm-up session is a shorter one while the advanced players need a full-body warm-up session. We will discuss the objective and mechanism of some warm-up exercises to be done personally.  

  1. Stretch out the whole body 

Stretching out is like waking up your body from sleep. Gently perform open leg stretch for 20 seconds. Then to loosen tight hamstrings, stretch out by extending the leg while keeping the knee slightly bent.

Try to hold for 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds. Do simple quadriceps stretching for 20 seconds. While standing grabs your right foot using the right hand and pull it towards the butt. Hold the position and repeat by switching from left leg to right.   

Objectives of stretching: Stretching keeps the muscle flexible, strong, and healthy. The muscles become short and tight in normal time. While calling on the muscles for activity, stretching out is a must to prevent muscle damage.

  • Plank crawl

To perform crawl plank begin in a plank position keeping the feet together and body in a straight line. Then bend the left arm and take the forearm plank position. The next step is a full forearm plank.

Push through your palms to lift yourself. After reaching the top, place the right palm on the floor under the shoulder to push back into a full prank. Repeat this process.  

The objective of plank crawl: This is a core body exercise to tighten and stabilize all the core muscles. It also aims to strengthen the shoulder. Plank exercises protect the lower back and strengthen the surrounding areas.   

  • Open/Close the gate  

For this warm-up exercise stand on your feet keeping them hip-width apart and toes pointed forward. Leave the arms loose by the sides of the body. Then pull the shoulder blades down and back. Put the body weight on the right side and lift the left leg up to mid-torso.

Move the leg in a way where the left knee cross over the right leg. And then move out opening the hips as far as possible. After the open gate stretch keeps the core tight, hips pointed and body still while doing close gate stretch. Repeat 10 times. 

Objective: The gate opener stretch targets the lower body, pelvis, and core region. It improves mobility and range of motion in hips areas. It also allows working on balance and overall stability.  

  • Single leg exercises 

 A game like soccer requires the maximum amount of single-leg actions. For passing, shooting, jumping, accelerating, and changing direction a player needs to be well-balanced and have full single-length strength.  

Goblet Lateral lunge is an exercise for movements like diving, cutting, and shuffling.

Do some forward skater jumps by emphasizing the frontal plane. Goblet split squat, single-leg deadlift, and standing cross crawl all are single-leg exercises.  

Objectives: Single-leg exercises help players become more agile, stronger, faster, and resilient to injury. These exercises are aimed to improve the performance of the player.  

  1. Neck stall push up  

For neck stall push up, stall the ball in the neck. Kneel and keep your hands down. Then keep the feet in the back and the hips in the up. Start pushing up keeping the ball in control.

For trying neck stalls push up, start with normal push up first. After slow and controlled push-ups when your body gets comfortable, you can use a ball.  

Objectives: Push-ups are aimed to work on the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This workout engages the core, quads, and gluts keeping the body straight. The ball stalled in the neck helps to develop ball controlling power using the backside of the body.  

Group warm-up exercises

 For warm exercises to be performed in a team check out the following ones: 

  1. Dynamic warm-up 

 In dynamic warm-up players do forward jogging, backward jogging, side shuffles, sideways jumping jacks, high kicks, single-leg hops, and leapfrog. These movements can be done in various patterns.

Players can move around the square doing forward and lateral dynamic movements. The same can also be done in a circular pattern. Players can also divide into two parts and form the shape 8 for performing zipper dynamic warm-up.  

Objectives: Dynamic warm-ups include similar types of movements performed in soccer. Players go through a variety of movements involving different patterns which keep the players prepared before the match.   

2. Passing the ball in a circle 

 In this warm-up exercise, players form a large circle. The center circle of the soccer field is used. Two players in the middle of the circle start passing the balls to a player standing on the circumference of the circle.

Then the player receiving the pass dribbles the ball and passes to another player. This continues and the speed and intensity grow with time. Players keep moving when they don’t have the ball. This can be played both in one-two pass or two-touch variation.  

Objectives: This is an easy warm-up activity and gets the player moving with the ball. Players get the chance to work on first touch, dribbling, and passing. 

  1. Relay race 

Relay lines are set up with cones and players are divided into even teams. This starts slowly with running to the cone on the other side and getting back to the initial point. After the players get warmed up, different movements and alignment are used to perform this exercise. Players also play tic-tac-toe against each other in one of the variations of a relay race. 

Objectives: relay race is competitive so it prepares the players even further for the game. Relay races are also great for improving speed, agility, and quickness. It allows the players for practicing quick transition.  

  1. Treasure hunt 

 This exercise is set up in a rectangular grid which is again separated into four quadrants. Three soccer balls are placed in each corner of the squares. Players are divided into four teams for four quadrants.

Here each quadrant works as their corner and players are required to steal balls from their opponent’s corner. When the player of the opposition comes to the other quadrant then they are required to sit down there. Another teammate can come and rescue them  

Objective: The treasure hunt drill allows the players to work on techniques to bring out the ball from the opposition. A fun invasion game to learn the techniques of defending and attacking at the same time.  

  1. Dribble through gates

A square-shaped grid is created with the help of four cones. Some randomly spaced gates made of cones are laid down along the grid. Players start going inside the grid with a soccer ball. They dribble through as many gates as they can in the given period.  

Objective: This allows helping the players practice getting a maximum touch on the balls keeping the mind focused. A competitive warm-up exercise improving the dribbling skill of the players.  

Conclusion

Warm-up sessions motivate the players to stay connected during the soccer match. Practice these workout drills to give the best performance in your next soccer match.

You can also read: what soccer position is hardest to play

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