Warming up before playing soccer

 A comprehensive warm-up program designed to reduce the risk of injuries in female youth football (aka soccer) reduced some injuries but not others.

First, the details.

  • 125 football clubs from Norway were followed for 1 league season (8 months).
  • 1892 female players aged 13 to 17 years were randomly assigned to a comprehensive warm-up program to improve strength, awareness, and neuromuscular control during static and dynamic movements or to a control group.
  • Warm up exercises included 3 parts.
    • Running exercises at slow speed + active stretching and controlled contacts with a partner
    • 6 different sets of exercises
    • Speed running combined with football specific movements and sudden changes in direction.

And, the results.

  • There was no significant reduction in the risk of lower extremity match injuries — training injuries, knee injuries, and acute injuries — between groups.
  • The exercise group did have a significantly lower risk of injuries overall, as well as overuse injuries, and severe injuries.
  • The exercise group had a significantly lower risk of 2 or more injuries, while a reduction in the risk of re-injuries did not reach significance.

The bottom line?
I think the bottom line is that soccer (football) carries a high risk of injury, and any benefit that can be achieved by warming up is probably worth the time and effort.

This study showed some benefit, but whether this particular exercise program is better than any other is not known.

12/10/08 20:53 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.