Physical Therapy in Rhode Island for Soccer
Welcome to Choice Physical Therapy's stretching guide for soccer.
Stretching is an essential part of successful soccer. A good stretching routine can help to minimize muscle imbalances, prevent injury, improve your exercise tolerance and your soccer performance. The following stretching program is designed for soccer players who do not have any current injuries or individual stretching needs. If you have an injury, or a specific mechanical imbalance that may be holding back your soccer performance, your Choice Physical Therapy physiotherapist can design a stretching program just for you.
When is the Best Time to Stretch?
When your muscles are warm and relaxed! Stretch after you warm up (before your game) and after the game. Some debate continues about whether or not stretching is of benefit before you exercise. If your muscles are warm and the stretching is performed correctly, then there is likely to be no harm in stretching before you play.
How to Warm Up:
If you play on a team, your coach will usually have a warm up program for your team, however, if you are responsible for your own warm up, we recommend the following steps as a minimum:
- Jogging for at least five minutes (or some other whole body activity to get the blood flowing to the muscles that you are going to stretch and use).
- Stretches (see below).
- Passing the ball (short distances at first, then progress to longer passes).
- Shooting (short distances at first, then progress to longer shooting).
Rules for Dynamic Stretching:
- Warm up your muscles first, then stretch while your muscles are still warm.
- Move through your range of movement, keeping control of the movement with your muscles. Do not allow momentum to control the movement by "flinging" or "throwing" your body parts around.
- You may feel light resistance in your muscles, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.
- Start with slow, low intensity movements, and gradually progress to full-speed movements through range of motion. Complete these motions for several repetitions (10-15 times.) Follow the dynamic stretches with simulated cricket motions such as batting or bowling (not shown here) to specifically dynamically prepare the exact muscles that will be used when the match begins.
Rules for Static Stretching:
Warm up the muscles first.
- Slowly take your muscles to the end of their range. You will feel slight resistance in the muscle, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.
- Hold the stretch in a static position. Do not bounce.
- Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat each stretch 3-4 times.
Essential Stretches for Soccer:
These muscles are your prime movers for soccer. You'll need to stretch these muscles each time you train or play. Don't forget to stretch both sides. The stretching program shown below will take about 15 minutes to complete.
Leg Swings Forward and Back
Leg Swings Sideways
Back Rotation Stretch:
Lower back extension stretch
Hip Flexor Stretch