In this article you’ll learn 5 reasons your body needs a warm-up. Growing up 20 years ago as a youth player, nobody really played as much as the kids do now. That is why I probably never had a muscle pull until college. I do remember being sore in high school and spraining an ankle or breaking a toe, but never pulled muscles. Playing at the pro level I remember there was a different player out with an injury every week. That’s because we played 6/7 days and played for a living. Either way now playing as a youth or adult soccer can be very demanding on the body. Luckily I got Dr. Amir Khan [orthopedic surgeon] to share with you the reasons your body needs a warm-up.
Overall health and good habits in soccer
We believe an athlete’s eating habits, overall health, and nutritional choices play as great a role as those of skill and talent. The level of competition required at progressively earlier ages [especially in hot climates] requires young athletes to spend time improving their muscle stability. A soccer warm up is vital for all players! There are many reasons your body needs a warm-up, but we have listed 5 below. Check out 5 reasons for a warm-up, 3 things not to do and the aim of a soccer warm-up.
Dr. Amir Khan is an orthopedic surgeon with vast experience with professional and collegiate athletes. Below he shares with you 5 reasons your body needs a warm-up + 3 things not to do:
5 physiological reasons your body needs a warm-up
- To increase the core temperature at least one or two degrees Celsius
- Increase heart rate and blood flow to skeletal tissues which improves the efficiency of oxygen uptake and transport, carbon dioxide removal, and removal and breakdown of anaerobic byproducts.
- To increase the activation of the Central Nervous System (therefore increasing coordination, skill accuracy and reaction time)
- Increase the rate and force of muscle contraction and contractile mechanical efficiency (through increased muscle temperature
- To increase the suppleness of connective tissue (resulting in less incidence of musculotendinous injuries
Limitations of the typical soccer warm-up / reasons for this inadequate preparation
3 things not to do:
- The initial jog which usually consists of slowly jogging forward and in a straight line has a minimal effect on increasing the body temperature of the athlete.
- Static stretches that are performed are usually done slowly with the athlete either standing still or sitting on the ground. It has been shown that this method of stretching is beneficial to increasing limb range of motion, and its main goal is to relax the muscles so that they are less resistant to passive stress for stretching. However, this type of passive stretching does not adequately prepare the muscle and connective tissue for the active contraction and relaxation process that occurs in a dynamic soccer training or game situation.
- The body loses the increase in temperature gained by the initial jog during the static stretching period especially in cold climates or cold sessions (Autumn and Winter).
The aim of a soccer warm-up
The net result is that the typical soccer warm up can lead to less than optimal speed and skill, especially at the start of the match. Therefore, the soccer warm-up should be altered in such a way that it meets the dynamic demands of the sport. Accordingly, the aim of the warm up should be the complete physical and mental preparation for dynamic actions to follow. The athlete should be able to begin the game or training session totally ready to perform at maximal intensity if required. – Dr. Amir Khan
Besides these reasons your body needs a warm-up
Below learn other reasons injuries come about, besides not warming up good. If you can limit how much you shoot and the amount of games played you’ll reduce injuries.
These healthy eating tips before and after games/trainings are other vital pieces to keeping your body strong.
Prevent quad injuries shooting the soccer ball properly
Players love to score goals!! What many don’t know is it can put you on injury reserve. The reason is players start shooting or passing long too early – before warming up. So if you start shooting too early at training, you could pull your quad.
Remember, before practice is the most important time to warm up and stretch. You have to be careful not to get to practice and start shooting or hitting long balls right away. At every level, except pro’s you will see some of the players shooting on goal before the warm up. At a young age it won’t affect the body so much but ages 13+ really need to avoid shooting too early.
I [Jeremie] wrote an article on quad injuries not long ago, so please check it out because there are some good tips! Last, the quad and the core are what help get power behind the ball.
Too many games can lead to injury
Between club league and tournament play, competing in multiple “national” championships, the ODP system their involvement with regional and national teams, players [count] match totals for a year in the 80s, 90s and even more than 100. – Robert Zeigler explains on Top Drawer how kids need more training, but fewer games.
If you think about games and how much players are stretching for the ball, falling down, jumping, getting hit all over and all the other pounding it makes sense how players get injured. More than that is all the running up and down the field for so many minutes. This is why you see more midfielders pulling muscles than defenders. Mids run way more, which results in fatigued muscles.