By: Brian Rog and Jen Robbins, MS, ATC
We all aim to be that bigger, faster and more conditioned athlete on the soccer field, but getting there requires a disciplined level of strength and endurance to keep up with the rapid speed and agility loads. A large fraction of your success falls heavily on your pre-game routine, which tends to be one of the most neglected aspects for many.
Before hitting the field and to help meet the physical demands of the sport, it’s important to properly stretch to limber up and activate the necessary muscle groups needed to withstand the strains from gameplay. Through stretching, the risk of injury is minimized, while flexibility is maximized. As a result, you may also notice gains in your endurance and levels of balance. In fact, increased bending and flexibility also play a pivotal role in bettering overall posture, which will strengthen your core over time and keep your performance at a maximum. Pre-game stretches and warm-ups are also crucial for increasing the heart rate so oxygen can be transported to those muscles where major nutrients are consumed.
Considerable research has proven that increased stretching harvests a powerful impact on performance outcomes during a physically-demanding activity. The experts at ATI Physical Therapy recommend (after loosening up) incorporating these varying levels of stretching techniques to help support your pre-game regimen.