Sunday, August 8, 2010

Football Stretching Exercises

There is no way to guarantee and injury free football career, however there are things players can do to reduce the chance of injury and an effective stretching program is one thing a player can do reduce injury risk and enhance the on field performance. In this article we will cover some of the stretching exercises you perform on the calves, hamstrings, quads and piriformis muscles.

Calf Stretch:
1. Stand arms length from a wall, place your hands on the wall, gently fall forward to a position you are comfortable in while stretching the calves. Hold the position for about 20 seconds then come a little more forward stretching the calves a bit more. Do this three times going for a full minute or more with each exercise.

2. Stand on a stair, feet shoulder width apart, place your feet on the step just passed the ball of the feet. Let feet gently do down, this will stretch the Achilles, center of the calves and you should feel a light stretch on the center of the ham strings. Do this three times for about a minute each time. To stretch the outside of the calves, point the feet in and for the inside turn the feet out. This is a very easy and safe way to lengthen the muscles using your natural body weight.

Hamstring Stretch:
1. Assume a standing position, then cross the right foot over the left foot. From this position slowly and gently lower your hands to the floor and your head to the right knee. Hold this position for about 10 seconds. Do this several times then cross the left foot over the right foot and repeat the procedure. This will help loosen the hamstrings and prepare you for the next hamstring stretching exercise.
2. This exercise is a bit more demanding. Sit on the floor with one leg fully extended and the other leg turned in with the foot placed against the inner thigh. Bending at the waist, slowly and gently extend your hands towards the foot of the straight leg. Bend as far as possible and hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat this action 5 times and then switch legs.
Personal note, I use the back of a chair and place the right hand to the left leg and vice versa. This gives my back muscles a better stretch work out.

Quadriceps Stretch:
1. Use a solid stationary object such as a chair. Place one hand on the chair for balance. Using the other hand to grab the ankle of the opposite foot, pull the foot upwards towards the buttocks, stretching the quadriceps. It is important that you stand straight and keep the leg you are standing on straight. Leaning forward will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Hold the position for 15 seconds and repeat it with each leg 10 times.

2. More advanced athletes can use the following squad stretching technique. Place yourself on your stomach on the edge of a bench. Have the dangling leg forward with the knee bent and the leg relaxed. Using a towel wrapped around the ankle of the other leg, pull the foot forward towards the buttocks to facilitate a good stretch. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat this 10 times on each leg.

Piriformis Stretch:

 The Piriformis muscle allows for lateral rotation of the hip.For players who require lateral mobility such as running backs, receivers, linebackers, corners and safeties this is a very important stretching exercise.

1. Lay flat on your back on the floor, crossing your legs the same as if you were sitting. Place both hands under the knee on the “under leg” and gently pull the leg towards your chest. As you pull, you should feel the stretching in the gluts and hips. Hold for 10 seconds do each leg about 5 times.

2. Lay flat on your back cross the right leg over the left letting the ankle rest on the knee. Place the left hand behind and under the left knee and the right hand on the right knee. As you pull the left leg up towards your chest, push against the right knee. Hold this position for about 5 seconds and do this about 5 times each leg.

Post Workout Stretching:

This is as important as warming, stretching and then working out. After you have all that, you need to cool down and end with a post workout stretch. This will keep blood flowing to the muscles and help any bruises or minor injuries heal faster as well as remove lactic acid from the muscles, reducing the chances of muscle soreness.

In conclusion your workout program is best served with a pre and post stretching program. This will add to your speed, athletic performance and help reduce the chance of injury. To give yourself the opportunity to perform your best, have better balance, quickness and speed every work out program should include focus on the core muscles. There is core muscle training DVDs available.

Core Muscle Development Training DVDs

Copy right: Andrew Berkey 8-8-10

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