Stretching Exercises for the Budding Football Superstar

With the footy season on our doorstep, here are 7 easy pre-training mobility exercises to help with injury prevention & improving performance.

This routine should only take 10-15mins, and can be done before every training session.

 

Striders

These are awesome for keeping your hips and legs mobile, and will give you extra speed and agility when reaching down to pick up a low ball. Ensure you maintain thoracic extension (not hunched over) & squeeze your back glut. Hold each position for 3-secs then change legs. Perform 10x striders (5 each leg). (Below left)

Injury Prevention
Injury Prevention

 

Arabesque

Balance is really important for any player, whether you’re a full-forward or a ruck-rover.

This exercises not only works your balance and strength (especially in the little, or intrinsic muscles of your foot), it also strengthens your glut med which is the single most important muscle for stability in your standing leg when you kick.

Start by standing on one leg + hands on hips. Maintain a soft knee on stance leg (don’t lock back into hyper-extension). Imagine axis of rotation through hips, then slowly lean forwarding whilst maintaining a neutral lumbar spine. Only lower to the point where you feel tension in your hamstring, then return to standing. Perform 10x arabesque (5 each leg). (Above right)
 

Double Leg Jumps

These plyometric exercises are great for increasing your vertical leap as well as preparing your knees, ankles and hips for the impact of the game. Aim for a really quiet landing which helps the shock absorption and eccentric strength of your leg muscles such as calves, quads, hamstrings and gluts. Do 3 sets of 5 jumps.

 

Single Leg Hops

These are great to help with your one-legged control which is really important for things such as overhead marking and kicking long distances. Focus on landing control (not distance)!! Ensure you spring off your toes for take-off, and watch that your knee doesn’t drift medially (inwards) when landing! Perform 5x single leg hops on each leg, repeat 3 times.

 

Sumo Squat + Hip Grind

These are awesome for hip strength and mobility. Hip and groin injuries (including osteoitis pubis, adductor strains and tight hip flexors) are one of the most common injuries we see in AFL players in the clinic. Perform a deep (sumo) squat, attempt to maintain thoracic extension. At the bottom of the squat you can do a ‘hip grind’ to improve hip range of motion. Perform 6x sumo squats.

 
 
Good luck with your pre-season prep and I wish your team good luck on their way to the flag!