Every soccer player needs to be flexible. How do we improve flexibility? Read on to find out:
I think static stretching is a great way to improve mobility, particularly for athletes who are injured and need to do it as part of their rehab. Muscles and joints tend to become tighter with injury, doing long duration, static stretches can combat this. Another great way to implement static stretching is after a training session. It won’t help you recover faster, but it certainly can help you feel less sore, which is always a plus.
Dynamic stretching is going to be a soccer player’s best friend when improving flexibility. For one, it is proven to help increase flexibility before practices and games, which is when you need to be the most flexible. It’s also part of your warm up, which is key to increasing performance and decreasing injury risk. Before practices and games, be sure to go through a full dynamic warm up to ensure you play at your best.
Most people don’t realize it, but most compound exercises actually help you increase your flexibility. For example, during the back squat, you’re using mobility from the hip, knee, and ankle, all of which are used in soccer. Using the full ranges of motion for compound exercises will undoubtedly help to either maintain or improve your flexibility.
Ever feel like you need to improve your hamstring flexibility? One of the best ways to do so is by doing eccentric exercises. These exercises help you with two things at once: gaining muscle strength AND increasing muscle length. Specifically to the hamstrings, the Nordic hamstring curl is one of the best exercises you can do to improve flexibility. Eccentric exercises are key to flexibility and strength training in soccer.
Summary: Static stretches help you when you’re injured and make you feel good after training, but dynamic stretches are better in most cases. Stretches aren’t the only way to improve flexibility- as compound and eccentric exercises can help as well.