Soccer players are superstitious – even more when it comes to the ninety holy minutes on the weekend. In the cabin you always put on the left socket first, then the right one. You only enter the pitch with the left one first, sometimes also with a one-legged double jump. But does the warm-up programme for football players always have to be the same?
As Albert Einstein said so beautifully: „The definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different [...] results.“
With this blog post we want to offer you a soccer-specific change to your previous warm-up program before the game or before training. You think you and your team already have a warm-up on Bundesliga level?
Even if that’s the case, still maybe the following exercises will give you at least some new input.
Arriving and preparing mentally for the game is not only important at away games. Relax and loosen up at the beginning with some light jogging.
This not only promotes blood circulation, but also stimulates your nervous system. Cognitive characteristics such as reactivity and increased attention are important building blocks with football as a sport becoming faster and faster than ever.
But that's not all - in addition to mental and cognitive effects, a relaxed "warm-up" in the warm-up programme also serves as physiological preparation for football players:
Heart rate and oxygen uptake capacity increase.
All these positive effects are already achieved through relaxed runs, which can also be performed with the ball in the form of passing or dribbling.
Activation and mobilisation
Let's get ready... With a mix of activation and mobilisation you bring your muscles and joints to an operating temperature.
Large, dynamic ranges of motion in combination with soccer-specific movement patterns allow you to effectively prepare your muscles and joints for the ninety-minute fight.
Exercise 1: Sidestretch
Since football does not only have linear, meaning straight-line - sprints, but the sport thrives from many changes of direction and slalom runs, it is important to activate your adductors in a warm-up program for football players.
Start in a slightly straddled, upright position. Now move your hips to the right and then to the left side.
In the next pass, rotate your long leg outwards - support yourself with your hands on the floor.
The third and last run is quite similar to the first. Here, however, you intensify the activation additionally by moving your hands forwards and downwards towards the floor.
Exercise 2: Standing Glute Stretch
To get a better activation within your gluteal muscles and this exercise is worth gold.
From a standing position, the first step is to go into a stable one-legged position with a minimally bent knee. Then you place the outside of the foot of one leg above the knee of the other leg. By standing backwards in a controlled manner, you get a tension in your entire buttock muscles. Keep your upper body as upright as possible and don't forget to exercise the other side as well.
Exercise 3: Kicking Single Leg Deadlift
In this exercise, which mainly prepares the backside of the legs, which has huge importance for footballers, we combine a standing scale with some swing gymnastics.
Position 1: Start with a forward and upward swing of your leg. Here it is recommended not to exaggerate the extent of movement.
Position 2: With the back swing of the leg you bend your upper body forward with a straight back and bring the heel towards the sky. You also touch the floor slightly with the opposite hand.
Position 3: From the standing scale (Single Leg Deadlift) you move into the one-legged sprinter and hold this position briefly
Pay attention to a stable one-legged standing position with slightly bent knee.
Exercise 4: Half Dog Plank
This specific exercise in the warm-up program for soccer players activates your entire back - especially your calves and the back of your thighs - as well as your trunk muscles.
You start in a straight push-up position and pay attention to the activation of your abdominal and gluteal muscles. This prevents you from falling into a hollow back or making a cat's hump.
Then push your hips towards the sky, stretch your shoulders completely and bend your knees slightly. If this HALF Dog is easy for you, you can also try this exercise with your knees straightened.
Then you return to the push-up position again.
Exercise 5: Half Squat Standing
Among other things, football players should be mobile in order to be able to perform at their best. With this exercise we work on your mobility, so that you can control movements of varying degrees.
You start in a standing position and bend forward and down until you can grab your toes with your fingers. Try to bend your knees as little as possible.
The next step is to lower your buttocks backwards. Your individual mobility shows you whether you can bend your knees completely or only halfway.
It is important that your back always remains straight.
Exercise 6: Camel
With the previous exercises we have put the back chain, weak point of many football players, in the centre of the warm-up programme for footballers. With the camel we concentrate on your front thigh muscles.
To do this, you start in a kneeling position with tense gluteal muscles - this ensures that your hips remain stretched during the exercise.
Now lean back with your hips remaining stretched.
Exercise 7: Isometric Bridge
Building on the hip extensions that you may already know from our GAMECHANGER performance training, we integrate a one-legged version in this warm-up. With unilateral, i.e. one-legged training, you also reduce muscular differences between the standing and shooting leg.
You start in a supine position with bent knees. The arms are laid down relaxed next to the body.
As in the two-legged version, you now lift your hips upwards and tense the buttocks muscles. In contrast to lifting your hips, you hold this position for about 20 - 30 seconds.
Repeat this exercise on the other side.
Exercise 8: Reverse Table Hip Extension
With this exercise we will dynamically activate your entire back (posterior) chain.
For soccer players with many stop-and-go movements this is an important drill, because it addresses your entire spine and we work also down to the back of the thigh muscles.
To do this, you push your hips towards the ceiling and build up a straight line from knee, hip, shoulder and head. Then you lower your buttocks again. Never lose the tension in your glutes.
Exercise 9: Landing Lunge
Landing exercises should not be missing in any warm-up program for soccer players - they protect you from injuries.
For the landing lunge you start in a tight stance. Now "fall" straight over to the front.
At the last moment, one leg shoots forward explosively, causing you to lunge. It is important that you land on the entire sole of your foot, keep your upper body upright and straight and pull your counter arm up at an angle.
Repeat this exercise on the other side.
Exercise 10: Sprinting Lunges
A one on one duel with a slide tackle, but suddenly you have to fight for a header immediately after this low position - in football, follow-up actions with large ranges of motion are not uncommon.
With the sprinter from the lunge position we prepare you for these situations.
To do this, you start in lunge position with your knee down and a counter-arm movement as in sprinting.
From this low starting position you accelerate explosively and quickly into a stable sprinter.
Pay attention to the counter-arm position, a straight upper body and lots of stability when standing.
Repeat this exercise on the other side as well.
The aim of this phase is to increase blood circulation and to optimize the control of the muscles.
Afterwards we would recommend further, more dynamic warm-up exercises, for example with Movement Preparations, followed by Running ABC and running schools.
The stadium is filling up, the minutes to kick off are getting shorter and shorter - time to get things (or the ball) rolling:
The last passage before the game is now taken up by passing sequences, short and crisp forms of play, goal-shooting sequences and sprints - integrated or isolated.
In this way, the muscles are optimally prepared for the stresses of the upcoming training session and soccer-specific movements are automated.
What comes next? The „Kaiser“ Franz Beckenbauer would put it like this: "Go out and play football".
Further warm up programs for soccer players in our B42-APP
You can also find another complete warm-up routine and countless exercises to improve your mobility in our app.
They will help you to prepare yourself optimally and effectively for your training or game.
CHANGE YOUR GAME. NOW.
Be Fearless. Be Focused. B42