Football warm-ups

It can be defined as the set of exercises that are carried out before a training session or a match, first of all of a general nature and then specific. The aim of the football warm-up is to prepare the player’s body for more powerful physical activity.

Thanks to the warm-up, the footballer raises his body temperature, which in turn increases metabolic activity. Throughout the session, neuromuscular and organic processes are optimised, thus preparing the brain for the stress that can be caused by a tough training session or match.

The football warm-up also reduces the chances of the player suffering from muscle pain or injuries such as sprains or torn fibres by preparing the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments for further strain. Through this warm-up, the internal friction of the muscle fibres and surrounding structures is reduced, making the musculoskeletal system work more efficiently.

When muscles are warmed up, they produce energy more quickly, which affects speed and strength, as well as increasing agility, skill, power and performance. This enables the player to perform complex movements with precision and accuracy.

Types of football warm-ups

  • A distinction can be made between global warming and specific warming.
  1. The global warm-up
    With the exercises performed in the global football warm-up, the footballer tries to mobilise all the muscles and joints of the body, thus preparing for the subsequent physical activity.
  2. The specific warm-up
    This warm-up stimulates the specific parts of the body that will be used during the training session or match.

Stages of the pre-competitive football warm-up

  • The approximate duration of a pre-competition warm-up in football is twenty-two minutes, and it is recommended that the same warm-up is repeated throughout the season, as this helps to unconsciously accustom the player to the competitive situation. The warm-up can be divided into six stages:
  1. Activation
    In this stage the body temperature is raised. Gentle continuous running, small rounds and stretching exercises are usually performed. It should last four minutes.
  2. Adaptation
    During this phase, the frequency and amplitude of movements are increased. This involves joint mobility exercises at a moderate intensity, small changes in running pace and proprioception exercises. It should last five minutes.
  3. The approach
    The duration of this stage is three minutes, in which technique exercises with the ball are carried out. Gradually, the intensity of the exercises should be increased.
  4. Simulation
    In this phase, which lasts four minutes, real situations that may occur during the course of a match are simulated, so that the players know how to deal with them. They are always carried out in smaller spaces.
  5. Assimilation
    Here, collective exercises are carried out, both technical and tactical, of those moves that are going to be used during the match. Each player will occupy a specific position indicated by the coach. The duration of this stage is four minutes.
  6. Completion
    In this last phase of two minutes, the aim is to get the player to reduce his level of excitement through changes of pace. The coach will give him the last indications in order to achieve maximum motivation.

Stages of the football warm-up prior to the training session

  • In this training, the activation and adaptation stages must be included in a compulsory way, plus a third stage to choose between approximation, simulation and assimilation. Football warm-ups prior to training sessions should not be the same throughout the season. This prevents the player from falling into monotony. Depending on what is to be worked on during the training session, one type of warm-up or another will be chosen, which can be divided into two blocks:

1.The physical block. Depending on the physical capacity to be worked on during the session, three types of warm-up can be distinguished:

  • Endurance: the player’s body temperature, heart rate and joint mobility should be raised through exercises without a ball if endurance is to be worked on aerobically. This football warm-up only includes the activation and adaptation stage. In the case of anaerobic endurance training, a third stage is included, focusing on the muscles that will be mainly involved in the training.
  • Strength: if it is a warm-up focused on endurance strength, the aim is to tone the muscles so that the player can withstand a moderate workload. If it is a warm-up focused on explosive strength, the warm-up will be focused on those muscles that are going to have a specific workload at high intensity. In this modality, the first three stages of the warm-up are developed.
  • Speed: when working on this physical capacity, the aim is to ensure that the player is able to react in the shortest possible time, as well as to improve his cyclical movements in running and the acyclic movements of the game. The first two stages are compulsory and the third stage is optional.

2.The technical-tactical block. Depending on the principles to be developed during training, one can choose between these three possibilities:

  • Conservation: when the session is related to ball possession.
  • Assimilation: focused on assimilating and improving specific collective and individual movements at a defensive and offensive level.
  • Finishing: when the session is related to finishing and neutralisation.


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