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How to warm up and warm down

"I've been charged with taking my team through a warm up and warm down. What can I do to help prevent injury and get more out of the players?
Sam Wilson, via twitter

Nathan Gardiner says:

“The benefits of a dynamic workout are pretty well documented. You have to take your muscles through a range of dynamic and progressive movements to prepare them for the game. If you don’t do that you’ll be at risk of injury when the game starts.

If you haven’t gone through that dynamic range of movement and you’ve only performed static stretching you’ll potentially be in trouble if you have to react to a ball and you try to bring it down on the move.

The focus of a cool down is to restore the body to homeostasis. You’ve been working really hard, going through excessive ranges of motion, so during that cool down period you want to bring your body back down to its resting state.

After training I would recommend some light aerobic activity either on an exercise bike or a jog to gradually lower your heart rate and clear waste products. Then perform some gentle dynamic work and static stretching.

If it’s after a game I would shy away from static stretching. By doing a warm down you’ll aid your recovery for the next training session or game.

If you don’t recover properly it will negatively affect your performance the next time you play and increase your risk of injury."

Nathan Gardiner was speaking at the Science + Football Conference. This year's conference is on Sunday, April 12 at St George's Park. For more information visit

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