It is a very broad topic because there are partisans and anti-stretching and inside those partisans, some “you have to stretch for a maximum of 7 seconds” and others, “for an effective stretch, it is minimum 20 seconds per muscle with 2 or 3 series minimum to get the best results”! This article relies on our opinion on football stretches!
What is the purpose of stretching in football?
Stretching a muscle (or a group of muscles) can mainly help to gain, increase flexibility, make the muscle more flexible (notion of elastic muscle, amplitude) and many people think this can facilitate recovery and prevent muscle injuries. These last 2 points have never been demonstrated to date, hence the debate that exists between professionals.
During physical activity, the muscle fibres in the thigh, hamstring, calves, abs, adductors, buttocks (etc.) are affected, so it seems logical that in order to relieve them, we need to wait a bit and be careful when stretching. At the joint level (knees, ankles, hips…), stretching potentially increases the degree of freedom.
The different types of stretching
The principle is that the agonist muscle (the muscle which makes the movement) is contracting when the antagonist muscle is stretched. Its advantages are better blood circulation thanks to agonist contraction, a more useful (functional) flexibility.
It is a tensioning of the muscle at rest, it is the principle of traditional stretching, the one that is worshipped or denounced.
Contracted relaxed stretched
All on the same muscle group. It consists of a passive stretching and then contraction of 6-8 sec and a slackening of 2-3 sec
What are the rules to follow?
To ensure that stretches are properly assimilated, the following rules must be respected:
- None fits and starts
- Do not exceed the pain limit
- Stretching without shoes for better support quality
- Avoid cold atmospheres
- No stretching on sore muscles without medical or physiotherapeutic advice.
- Stretch for about 20 seconds per exercise
Which muscles to stretch?
We recommend stretching in the following order:
When to practice football stretches?
Even if there are different opinions, no study shows that stretching is dangerous. We recommend stretching when the muscle is cold i.e. 1h30 to 2h after the effort (training and match)! We know that it is complicated to check this, which is why we recommend, by default, to stretch at the end of training for a maximum of 7 to 10 seconds per muscle and without reaching the pain threshold. Be aware that stretching exercises and proprioception are very useful for the physical well-being of your team.
The Prepa Physique Team