Dynamic Soccer Warm Up Drill
Before any serious workout or practice session, soccer players should always be sure to warm up the muscles that contribute most to strong performance in this game. These include the hip flexors, the hamstrings, the quads and the glutes—all the muscles in the hips, legs, and core that generate drive, agility, and speed. An effective soccer stretching session means opening up the blood flow to these areas and lengthening the muscle fibers and tendons in order to maximize a soccer player’s range of motion.
In the video below, the Kbands trainers take viewers step by step through a complete soccer warm up drill that can help soccer players get ready for a game. Soccer coaches and players can easily incorporate this soccer stretching and warm up session into a regular training routine, since it requires only a few minutes and no equipment except a set of Kbands resistance bands.
Before beginning the soccer warm up drill, players can attach the Kbands straps to their upper legs and clip the resistance band in place with the short band in front and the longer band in back.
Soccer Warm Up Drill: High Knee Runs
Once the bands are in place, soccer players can begin the first move of the warm up drill, the high-knee run. Players can mark out a distance of about seven yards and cover the distance at a jog, bringing the knees up to the chest at each stride. This will be difficult with added resistance of the Kbands, so the muscles of the hip flexors will start to fire and loosen up within the first few strides. Players should work against the resistance while not focusing too much on speed. The knees should stay high, and the arms should stay fully engaged in order to keep the body balanced and get the heart moving.
Soccer Warm Up Drill: Butt Kickers
The next move in the soccer warm drill involves the quads and hamstrings more than the hip flexors, and doesn’t work so hard against the resistance of the bands. Instead it places emphasis on the front and back of the upper leg. To execute this move, players can run down the same seven yard stretch, bringing the heels up toward the glutes at each step. Like the high knee runs, this move can involve about four or five runs down the seven yard distance and back again.
Soccer Warm Up Drill: Karaoke and High Knee Karaoke
For the next move in this warm up drill set, players will move down the line in a lateral way, shuffling the left foot ahead of the right, then the right foot ahead of the left, and so on. This move will open up the hips, torso, and lower back. After a two or three passes up and down the 7 to 10 yard distance, players can complete the same move, but with the front knee lifted high at each stride. As the right foot moves across the body in front, the knee will come up to the chest. At the next step, the left knee will come up, etc.
Soccer Warm Up Drill: RDLs
The next move in this warm up set focuses more on balance and stretching than blood flow. For this move, soccer players will walk down the line one step at a time, and at each step, they’ll complete an RDL with alternating legs raised. Players will start by leaning forward with the arms extended and slowly raising and extending the right leg behind the body. Then they’ll step forward, lean forward again, and raise the left leg. Two trips down the line from one side to the other should be enough for this move.
Soccer Warm Up Drill: Walkers
After the RDLs, players can start at the beginning of the line again and complete a set of moves called walkers. These consist of a slow walk down the line with alternating legs raised high and wide at each step. First the left knee will come up into the air and around, then the right knee, and so on. This move will open up the hip joints and place targeted tension on the quads. When players reach the end of the line, they can walk back down the line in a backward direction, rotating the legs from front to back this time like a gate swinging open.
Soccer Warm Up Drill: Forward-Back and Side-to-Side Shuffles
The final two moves of this soccer stretching and warm up drill involve a continuous shuffling motion. Soccer players can begin by launching from the start point, taking a few driving forward steps, then stopping with the left leg extended. Then after a quick backward shuffle to the starting point, players can drive forward again, this time stopping with the right leg extended.
After a few reps of forward-back shuffles, soccer players can switch to side-to-side shuffles in which the body covers the same distance in a lateral formation. During the lateral shuffles, the hips should stay wide and the body should stay in rapid motion from left to right. During this move, the resistance of the bands should be felt in the outer leg muscles. If soccer players aren’t feeling any tension, they should open up the width of each lateral stride.