Warm-Up & Stretching Exercises

Prepare your muscles and joints for activity by warming-up and stretching before you play. A warm-up routine increases blood-flow, raises the body’s temperature and improves balance, flexibility and coordination so you can play at your peak while avoiding injury.

Guidelines to Soccer Stretches

  • Don’t bounce or jerk when you stretch
  • Gently stretch to a point of tension — NOT PAIN
  • Hold stretches for 30 seconds, Repeat 3-5 times

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Slowly rotate your head in a circular motion. After 10 repetitions, repeat in the opposite direction.


Stand and reach back with your right arm and grab your right ankle. Bring your heel toward your gluteal muscle while maintaining an upright stand. Hold and repeat on opposite leg.


Start in a sitting position, with legs spread. Slowly lower yourself to the center with a straight back. Hold. Now reach toward your right leg with both hands and hold. Repeat on the opposite side.


Start in a sitting position. Cross your bent leg over your other straight leg. Take the opposite arm of your crossed leg and fix your knee with your elbow. Turn your trunk away from your knee toward the opposite shoulder while pushing your knee with the elbow. Hold and repeat on the opposite side.


Start in a step position, your back leg straight and your arms propped on your thigh. Push the heel of your back leg toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your calf. The wider you step the more you stretch. Hold and repeat with opposite leg.


Lunge forward leading with your right leg. Drop your left leg to the ground. Place your hands on your right thigh and lean forward with your hips. Hold and then repeat with opposite leg.


Your legs should be bent and spread apart, so the bottoms of your feet are touching each other. Push your knees down with your arms until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh. Hold.

Also known as a “hurdler-stretch,” start in a seated position with one leg straight in front and the other bent towards the inside. Bend forward from the waste to touch your toes with your fingers. Keep your back straight and your head and neck in good position. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat by switching legs.


Start in a seated position with one leg straight in front of you and the other bent toward the inside leg. Bend forward from the waste to touch your toes with your fingers. Keep your back straight and your head and neck in good position. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat by switching legs.


On your back, bend your knees and cross one leg over the other so you ankle balances on the opposite knee. Place your hands behind your bent leg and push it toward your chest. Flex at the hip to provide a good stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat by switching legs.

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises

Designed specifically for soccer athletes, warm-up with these exercises from WakeMed’s SportFit Soccer Program.

Click on each item to expand the information.


Slowly jog across the width of the field (touchline to touchline) using proper running technique, posture, and knee control. Repeat for two widths of the field.


Slowly jog backward across the width of the field (touchline to touchline) using proper running technique, posture, and knee control. Repeat for two widths of the field.


Slowly side-step across the width of the field using proper technique, posture, and knee control. Repeat for half the width of the field leading with the right leg, then half the width leading with the left.


Slowly jog across the width of the field while bringing your knees upward toward your chest as you jog. Be sure to use proper technique, posture, and knee control.


Slowly jog across the width of the field (touchline to touchline) while raising your heels off of the ground. Be sure to use proper technique, posture, and knee control.


Slowly jog sideways across the width of the field while crossing your feet step-over-step. Be sure to use proper technique, posture, and knee control.

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