Why is the warmup and cooldown so important?
The warm-up prepares the body for exercise and should be tailored for the specific exercise that will be undertaken. For football, both general and specific exercises should be performed.
The warm up may involve
- General exercise jogging or cycling for 5-10 minutes to warm the muscles and enhance circulation in preparation for stretching
- Gentle static stretching of key muscle groups such as the hamstrings, calves and hip flexors which are held for 20-30 seconds and repeated 2-3 times. It is also important to stretch/mobilise the spine gently, especially the ‘twisting’ movement.
- Low level resistance exercises to ‘wake up’ important core stabilising muscles which will help support the back, hips and legs during training.
- Once the muscles are well warmed up, more vigorous dynamic stretches can be performed carefully under supervision of the coach so as to avoid injury.
The cool down is important to safely restore the body back to its resting state. This may include: