More after the break
Get your blood pumping
“Start off with a good light jog, making sure you get the blood pumping around the body and conditioning your body for what is to come. The warm-up can be a good way of starting the banter that all players enjoy, so run in pairs for five or 10 minutes."
Quad, hammy & groin
The three key muscle groups
“These are static stretches that loosen the most important muscle groups. Don’t overdo the stretch and make sure you don’t bounce up and down either – that’s how injuries occur. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, making sure you do the opposite leg for the same amount of time. These are three big leg muscles and take a lot of stretching so begin with short, gentle stretches, increasing the length and intensity gradually.”
Opening the gate
Working the groin on the move
“This is a more dynamic stretch and is done on the move. I first came across it when I was doing my youth training at Wimbledon and it’s become increasingly popular within the game. It’s a good way of stretching the muscles whilst remaining on the move. Bend the leg at the knee and take it from the inside out. You can repeat the stretch by taking it from the outside in – this is called closing the gate.”
Ideal for pace and power plays
“This is a good warm-up for the hamstrings and is exactly the sort of stretch you find sprinters doing. I was encouraged to do this a lot at West Ham because my game’s centred around power and pace and it’s ideal for those aspects of football. Stand upright and lift the leg up bent at the knee. Then take the foot towards the floor abruptly and you should feel your hamstring stretch."
How to lunge and not get booked
“Having warmed up and stretched a little, this will work the groin more extensively. Take a good long lunge and you should feel the groin of your back leg stretch. But don’t overdo it or you may do more damage than good! Simple: warm up properly. Training starts with the warm-up, not when the ball work begins. Stretch properly, get your muscles working, and then take it from there.”