Injuries on the soccer field are inevitable, but a muscle pull or tear should never occur in the friendly confines of the weight room. To keep your muscles loose, incorporate a simple and efficient dynamic warm-up before tearing up the weights.
"The whole point of the dynamic warm-up is to increase body temperature, because it warms the muscles up and decreases injuries," says Brad Price, former strength and conditioning coach for LSU women's soccer. "I don't want to make the warm-up too long, because I have limited time with the players; so I use the most effective stretches to get the lower and upper body warmed up," says Price, who trained four players to All-American status in '07.
Below, Price offers a stretching mini routine, which helped the Tigers devour their first SEC West title last season.
Internal Hip Rotation
• Clasp hands behind head
• Maintaining straight torso, bend at knees and rotate right leg 90 degrees out while walking forward
• Bring right leg in, and then perform same movement with left leg
• Repeat pattern for 10 yards
Sets/Reps: 2x10 yards
External Hip Rotation
• Bend at knees and rotate right leg 90 degrees out while stepping backwards (almost a full 180-degree motion)
• Repeat movement with left leg; continue for 10 yards
Sets/Reps: 2x10 yards
Coaching Point: Maintain a straight torso while performing rotation
• Step forward with left foot while straightening right leg behind you so it's parallel with the ground
• Bend at waist while maintaining a straight back and touch toes/ground with both hands in front of you
• Return to start position; alternate legs and continue pattern for 10 yards
Sets/Reps: 2x1 (perform second set walking backwards using same technique)
Body Weight Squats
• Extend arms in front of body and perform a full parallel squat with sound technique
Coaching Point: Keep eyes and head up while driving up to start position
• With legs straight, bend at waist while keeping back flat, and touch right hand to left foot
• Return to start position; repeat motion touching left hand to right foot
• Standing straight, jut elbows out to side of body with fists at chest level
• Slowly twist right 90 degrees; return to start position, then slowly twist 90 degrees to left to complete one full rep
Boost your warm-up by mixing in a 200-yard jog, sit-ups and neck rotations.
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