Warming up and cooling down are a crucial part of a training program. The purpose of the warm-up section is to allow the athlete to prepare for activity. By warming up your muscles first, you greatly reduce the risk of injury.
A. Jog line to line (cone to cone):
Purpose : Allows the athletes to slowly prepare themselves for the training session while minimizing the risk for injury. Educate athletes on good running technique; keep the hip/knee/ankle in straight alignment without the knee caving in or the feet whipping out to the side. Instruction : Complete a slow jog from near to far sideline
B. Shuttle Run (side to side)
Purpose : engage hip muscles (inner and outer thigh). This exercise will promote increased speed. Discourage inward caving of the knee joint. Instruction : Start in an athletic stance with a slight bend at the knee. Leading with the right foot, sidestep pushing off with the left foot (back leg). When you drive off with the back leg, be sure the hip/knee/ankle are in a straight line. Switch sides at half field.
C. Backward Running
Purpose : continued warm-up; engage hip extensors/hamstrings. Make sure the athlete lands on her toes. Be sure to watch for locking of the knee joint. As the athlete brings her foot back, make sure she maintains a slight bend to the knee.
It is important to incorporate a short warm-up prior to stretching. Never stretch a “cold muscle”. By doing the exercises outlined here, you can improve and maintain your range of motion, reduce stiffness in your joints, reduce post-exercise soreness, reduce the risk of injury and improve your overall mobility and performance.
• Do a large muscle warm-up such as brisk walking for five to 10 minutes before stretching.
A. Calf stretch (30 seconds x 2 reps)
Purpose : stretch the calf muscle of the lower leg
B. Quadricep stretch (30 seconds x 2 reps)
Purpose : stretch the quadricep muscle of the front of the thigh
C. Figure Four Hamstring stretch (30 sec x 2 reps)
Purpose : To stretch the hamstring muscles of the back of the thigh.
D. Inner Thigh Stretch (20 sec x 3 reps)
Purpose : Elongate the muscles of the inner thigh (adductor group)
E. Hip Flexor Stretch – (30 sec x 2 reps)
Purpose : Elongate the hip flexors of the front of the thigh.
This portion of the program focuses on increasing leg strength. This will lead to increased leg strength and a more stable knee joint. Technique is everything; close attention must be paid to the performance of these exercises in order to avoid injury.
A. Walking Lunges (3 sets x 10 reps)
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