The ball cuts through the air in a perfect trajectory toward your position. With two steps, you thrust your body off the ground, ready to bring the ball under your control. Out of nowhere you are met by the violent impact of a player on the opposing team. Your bodies collide, sending you crumbling to the turf .
It is critical that we give ourselves a fighting chance. Many injuries in sports are unavoidable, but what if we could better prepare ourselves to avoid injuries on the field?
An effective dynamic warm-up prepares the body by waking up muscle movement patterns that mimic those used during your specific sport or workout. Since impact is an inevitable part of many sports, the Contact Dynamic Warm-up introduces controlled impacts to engage your stability muscles and emphasize proper landing mechanics after a collision.
Injuries—especially head injuries— cannot fully be avoided in high-risk situations. However, this technique can better prepare your body for unpredictable forces and maybe absorb forces that can cause an injury.
Below are seven exercises that can prepare your body for impact. They require a partner or coach. Perform them at least twice per week and introduce them into your preparation until they can be performed efficiently in a reasonable warm-up time.
Rhythmic Stability Knee Hug
Pull one knee up to your chest and hold the strench while a partner lightly taps your shoulders and knees.
Reps: 3-4 touches each leg
Rhythmic Stability Quad Stretch
Perform a Standing Quad Stretch. Have a partner tap your shoulders and arms.
Reps: 3-4 touches each leg
Rhythmic Stability Tempo Squat
Slowly lower into a Squat over three counts.
Have a partner tap your shoulders, hips, knees and arms.
Rhythmic Stability Forward Lunge
Step forward into a Lunge.
Extend your arms straight out in front of you.
Brace yourself as your partner taps your forward knee, shoulders and arms.
Anterior Impact Squat Jump
Set up for a Squat Jump with your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
Have a partner provide resistance against your hands.
Jump up and have your partner knock you slightly out of position as you land.
Posterior Impact Squat Jump
Partner Shoulder Contact (FIFA 11+)
Several contact exercises have been used effectively in the "FIFA 11+" program, designed to prevent injury in soccer players. Their exercise for shoulder contact involves two athletes jumping simultaneously and bumping shoulders before landing safely, either in place or with one step between jumps. Both sides of the body should be addressed. Athletes should be paired with partners of similar height and weight.
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