If you’re like me, you remember starting all football practices by lining up in tidy rows with all your teammates. The team’s captains would face the crowd, and lead us in a stretching routine to get us ready for the day’s work. This period was often a time for us to crack jokes, or chat with football coaches. Maybe even fix the laces on your cleats or day dream about that girl from your math class. The point is, our daily warm-up routine was typically less than strenuous. But the days of the old school sit-and-stretch are behind us

 Many Strength and Conditioning Coaches are turning to a dynamic warm-up to better prepare their athletes for everything they’ll be asked to do during the course of a football practice. As opposed to static stretching, a dynamic warm-up is executed on the move. Designed to build from slow-moving stretches to full speed exercises, each movement raises the athlete’s heart rate and muscle temperature. These actions are often sport specific; your body is not only getting loose, it is also committing these movements to muscle memory, making it easier to recall them in a game situation. This is a significant advantage over a static stretch routine. Players are practicing while they stretch! Some examples of dynamic warm-up exercises for football may include:

    • Knee-to-Chest Walk
    • Hip Cradles
    • Inverted Toe Touch
    • Carioca
    • Hip Openers
    • High Knee Runs
    • Backward Runs
    • Power Skips

Another benefit of the dynamic warm-up is the added mental stimulation of the period. Rather than sitting on the ground having a relaxing stretch/chat with their teammates, our strength coach demands the whole team stay locked in –executing each phase of the warm-up to the best of their ability. Our players either sprint to the line and get in their stance, or they are sent back to the goal line to try again. We are able to use the stretch as a “welcome to football practice” period, slowly elevating our players’ bodies and minds to the level we feel is necessary to excel in a fast-paced practice session.

I start all my CoachUp sessions with a 10 minute dynamic routine. However, for beginners, a dynamic warm-up can be a workout in itself. Advanced football players will be asked to do more during the course of your practice, and therefore should have more demanded of them in the warm-up. It’s important to know the athlete you’re working with, and tailor your sessions to his or her physical abilities.

This offseason be sure to get your body and mind ready for each workout with a dynamic warm-up routine!