Think back to every pre-game warm-up you've ever done as a soccer player. I bet the majority of them included touching your toes for a specific amount of time, reaching your arm lazily across your body for a few seconds and some other exercises you do while standing in place. We all know the best way to prime your body for activity is to stand in one spot and try and touch your toes, right? Wrong! It's time to ditch your old team warm-up and prepare your body for competition!
The following exercises are meant to prime your body for activity. They should be done quickly and efficiently so they activate the required muscles for performance. This entire warm-up is demonstrated in the video above.
1. Glute Bridge
The Glute Bridge is the perfect primer to activate our glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae, rectus abdominus and adductors.
Start by lying flat on the ground with your knees bent at roughly a 45 degree angle. Quickly explode your hips towards the ceiling and squeeze your glute muscles at the top of the movement. Hold at the top for a count of one-second. Repeat for 15 total reps.
2. Lunge/Reverse Lunge
The Lunge and Reverse Lunge are the perfect combo to warm up your glutes, hips, quadriceps and hamstrings.
One leg at a time, step forward and bend your leg until your opposite knee touches the ground. Rise back up and repeat with the opposite leg. Focus on controlling both the lowering into the lunge and the rise up out of it. Perform 20 Forward Lunges (10 on each leg) and then 20 Reverse Lunges (10 on each leg.)
3. Power Skip
The Power Skip gets everything moving! This closely mimics movements made on the field and will fire up your hip flexors, quadriceps, glutes and calves.
Start with both feet flat on the ground. Explode through the ball of your right foot and shoot your left leg to hip height and raise your left arm into the air. Repeat on the right side. Perform 20 total reps (10 on reach leg).
4. Sumo Side Shuffle
If you have access to a band, use it. If not, Sumo Side Shuffles are still an excellent exercise to activate your hip flexors and glutes.
Start with your feet wider than shoulder width. Slowly extend your left leg and take a small step. Repeat with the high leg returning to the starting stance. Perform 20 total steps, 10 in each direction.
Supermans are hands down one of the best priming exercises I have found. If you have trouble getting your back engaged, the superman does an excellent job of activating your upper/lower back as well as erector spinae and hamstrings.
Begin by lying face down on the ground. Simultaneously raise your legs and arms to form the "Superman" position while squeezing your upper back and glutes.
Complete the above exercises one at a time, spending roughly 1-2 minutes on each one. Your total warm-up should look something like this:
- Glute Ham Bridge x 15 Reps with 1 second squeeze at the top
- Forward Lunge x 10 steps each leg
- Reverse Lunge x 10 steps each leg
- Power Skip x 10 each leg
- Side Shuffle x 10 each direction
- Superman x 15-second hold
Depending on time availability, repeat for 3-4 sets.
Toss in a few 10-yard sprints upon completion and your body will be primed for competition!
Photo Credit: SeventyFour/iStock