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Stretching Exercises For Football
Football is a hard-hitting sport with injuries. There is no way to guarantee an injury-free career. However, conditioning can reduce the risk of injury, and any good exercise program should include stretching exercises. In this article we will discuss stretching exercises for football that will reduce the chance of injury and improve your athletic performance.
We cover some stretching exercises you can do on the calves, hamstrings, quads, and piriformis muscles.
1. Stand at arm’s length from the wall, placing your hands on the wall, slowly come forward to a position that is comfortable for you while stretching the calves. Hold this position for about 20 seconds and then come forward with a little more stretch in the calves. Do this three times for a full minute or more with each exercise.
2. Stand on the step, feet shoulder width apart, feet on the step just past the balls of the feet. Slowly lower the leg, this will stretch the Achilles in the middle of the calves and you will feel a gentle stretch in the middle of the hamstrings. Do this three times for about a minute each time. To stretch the outside of the calves, turn the foot in and turn the foot inward. This is a very easy and safe way to stretch muscles using your natural body weight.
1. Assume a standing position, then cross the right leg over the left leg. 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 repeat the process by crossing the left leg over the right leg. This will help loosen the hamstrings and prepare them 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 tucked into the inner thigh. Bending at the waist, slowly and gently extend your arms straight towards the soles of your feet. Bend as far as possible and hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat this action 5 times and then switch legs.
A personal note, I use the back of the chair and place the right hand on the left foot and vice versa. It gives my back muscles a good stretch and workout.
1. Use a solid, stable object like a chair. Place one hand on the chair for balance. Using the other hand to grasp the ankle of the opposite leg, stretch the quadriceps and pull the leg up toward the hip. It is important that you stand up 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 10 times with each leg.
2. More advanced athletes can use the following squad stretching techniques. Place yourself on the edge of the bench on your stomach. Place the hanging leg forward with the knee bent and the leg relaxed. Using a towel wrapped around the ankle of the other leg, pull the leg toward the hip for a good stretch. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times on each leg.
The piriformis muscle allows lateral rotation of the hip. This is a very important stretching exercise for players who need lateral mobility such as backs, receivers, linebackers, corners and safeties.
1. Lie flat on your back on the floor, crossing your legs as if you were sitting. Place both hands under the knees “under the legs” and gently pull the legs towards the chest. You should feel a stretch in the glutes and hips as you pull. Hold each leg for about 5 times for 10 seconds.
2. Lie flat on your back, right leg crossed over left, ankle resting on knee. Place the left hand behind and under the left knee and the right hand on the right knee. Push the right knee while pulling the left leg towards the chest. Hold this position for about 5 seconds and do each leg about 5 times.
Post workout stretching:
This is just as important as warming up, stretching and then working out. After you have all of that, you need to cool down and finish with a post workout stretch. This keeps the blood flowing to the muscles and helps to heal any cuts or minor injuries faster as well as removes lactic acid from the muscles, reducing the chances of muscle soreness.
Ultimately your workout program is best served with a pre and post stretching program. This will increase your speed, athletic performance and help reduce the chance of injury. To give yourself the chance to perform at your best, good balance, quickness and speed should be the focus of every workout program on the core muscles. Core muscle training DVD available.
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