My facility, the Soccer Fitness Training Centre, is located inside an indoor soccer facility. Since I spend a lot of time in my facility on weekends, I get to see a lot of people participating in weekend indoor adult soccer leagues. These people, because of their propensity for playing soccer only on weekends, have earned the nickname “weekend warrior”, and it is an apt nickname (anyone who has ever seen, or played in, weekend adult soccer leagues can attest to their intensity and competitiveness). The problem with this intensity, however, is that at times it can be the cause of problematic, nagging, over-use injuries. Furthermore, because weekend warriors typically only play soccer on the weekends, they are much more likely to get hurt due to lack of proper physical preparation and fitness.
The good news is that there is a simple solution to the weekend warrior’s current or future injury problems. Do a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up prior to the start of the game. In the past 20 years, a lot of scientific research has supported athletes warming up prior to participating in more intense physical activity such as soccer. Weekend warriors, athletes in their own right, should follow the same guidelines. In particular, a good pregame warm-up should include the following:
1. Low/moderate speed running for 3-4 minutes, including running forwards, backwards, and sideways.
2. Dynamic stretches of 2-3 different major muscle groups, with 4-5 repetitions per leg. I prefer the following ones:
- hamstring high kick: walk forwards and kick high with a straight leg, touching the toe to the hand of the same side (example: right toe touching right hand).
- walking lunge: take a long step forwards, bending at the knee and keeping the knee and toe facing forwards. Bend the knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor, before pushing upwards through the heel and repeating the lunge forwards with the opposite leg.
- heel-toe walk: walk forwards, stepping on the heel with the toe facing upwards, then rolling the body weight forwards and pushing downwards into the floor and supporting the weight of the body on the toes, with each step.
3. High speed running for 1-2 minutes, including 5-6 short (5 metre) sprints.
This simple, 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up, should be enough to help prevent injuries during weekend adult soccer, thus transforming the traditional weekend warrior into the injury-proof ‘Ultimate Warrior”.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.