Are you someone who regrets each football fun game with those tight and aching muscles. We are sure a lot of you rely even on painkillers to get rid of this soreness. We completely feel when this soreness extends to your upper body including your arms. And the worst part is it is so confusing to figure out if a stretch or significantly focusing on your hip and shoulder flexibility will help relax those sore muscles? Well, football stretches to cool your muscles down are exactly what you need after a game of Football. Never miss cool down!
As important as warm-ups are before the start of the game, so are the cool-downs after the game ends. Cool-downs ensure that your body temperature doesnât shoot up and is stabilised post-match.
Most of us donât concentrate much on cooling down after the match as we consider it done. But you should know that you are missing out on something really important and avoiding it puts your body under a lot of stress. Football is the kind of sport that keeps you on your heels full-time, which means your breathing rate also increases. Contrary to popular notions, it is not just your lower body that gets impacted. Your upper body is also under tremendous stress.
As your breathing rate shoots up during the gameplay, you must bring it down to the standard, post-match. The average respiratory rate for adults is around 12-20 breaths per minute. So, anything above that is considered unusual and has to be normalised. To stabilise your breathing rate, breathe in and breathe out for at least 3 minutes. Once your breathing is stabilised, you can proceed with the other stretches that help in muscle recovery. These include all the major muscles involved including your neck, shoulder and arm stretches.
Stretching out after the game relieves two most important effects:
- Muscle Fatigue
- Increased heart-rate and breathing rate.
It is better to stretch right after the game is over and not later. Also, it is good to keep the cool-down exercises simple and not strenuous enough to cause more fatigue. Here are few basic leg and arm stretches you can do after a chilled-out game with your buddies.
5 Super Easy Football Cool Down Stretches You Must Do
- Walking Knee Hugs
Football players use their glutes and hamstrings extensively while playing. While glutes help you propel forward and extend your hips, your hamstrings are mainly helpful for generating power through your legs. Walking knee hugs is amongst one of the best football exercises that helps in:
- Improving your balance.
- Enhancing your blood circulation.
- Strengthening your core muscles.
- Helping you get a better posture.
It also acts as a great arm stretch and helps in flexing your arm muscles.
- Stand with your back straight.
- Keep your soles flat with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keep your arms at your side.
- Slowly raise your left knee towards your chest while hugging it with your right arm.
- Hold the pose for 5-10 seconds.
- Release the leg and repeat the exercise on the right side.
- Dynamic lunges
Football is all about power, agility, and strength, especially in your lower body. Dynamic lunges with weights like kettlebells, dumbbells, or a weight vest are an excellent football workout for stretching the most powerful muscles in your lower body, especially the hamstrings, quads, and glutes. Some benefits of this exercise are:
- Improving your stability and preventing muscle soreness post game.
- Keeps your core balanced.
- Improves your motor control.
- Stand straight and place your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the weights at your sides while making your palms facing your thighs.
- Lunge ahead with your right foot while keeping your left leg straight.
- Rotate your torso for better strength and extend your arm outwards.
- To come back to the starting position, reverse your motion.
- Repeat on the other side.
3. Seated inner thigh and groin stretch
Groin pain is a common occurrence amongst football players that usually happens when you raise your knee on the injured side. It is not just discomforting but may also compromise your play. Seated inner thigh and groin stretch is a simple exercise with many benefits. These include:
- Loosens tight hips.
- Makes you flexible and prevents football injuries.
- Serves as the perfect cooldown football stretches.
- Sit on the floor with your back straight and your soles pressing into each other.
- Bend your knees slightly and hold your feet with your hands.
- Rest your elbows on your knees and allow them to go forward.
- Apply gentle pressure on your inner thighs by pressing your elbows on them.
- Hold the pose for 25-30 seconds and repeat.
4. Standing IT band stretch
Footballers often complain of knee injuries, known as ITBS (Iliotibial band syndrome) caused by overuse of the knees while playing and not cooling down properly. Hereâs how IT band stretches help football players:
- It keeps your knees stable and prevents football injury.
- This football workout helps in maintaining hip rotation.
- Keeps your core stable.
- This exercise amongst the best arm stretches, helps keep your arm muscles flexible.
- Stand up straight and cross your right leg in front of your left ankle.
- Slowly raise your arm and reach it to your right side.
- For better balance, you can lean your left side against a chair or wall.
- You should feel a deep stretch along your hip.
- Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat on the left side.
- Supine pigeon twist
One of the best football stretches, the supine pigeon twist, is a yoga pose that involves deep stretching your lower body. This exercise is also known as among the most effective arm stretches and helps in improving their mobility. It benefits football players by:
- Stretching the quadriceps and hamstrings.
- Loosening up the hips and relieving the pain of football injury.
- Strengthens the neck, shoulders, and the spine.
- Lie down on your back.
- Bend your knees gently.
- Place your soles flat on the mat while keeping your feet hip-width apart and thighs parallel.
- Raise your left leg upward while extending your heel.
- Bend your left knee and cross your left ankle over the knee of the right leg.
- Slowly bring your left ankle outside your right knee and flex your left foot through your heel while bringing your toes back towards the left.
- Now, put your right knee over your chest and slide your left forearm through the space between your legs.
- Clasp your hands gently around your right thigh.
- Press your shoulders towards the waist as you broaden your collarbones.
- Tuck your chin slightly and hold the pose for up to a minute.
- Child pose
One of the best yoga poses for arm stretches, the child pose is perfect not just for your physical strength but also for inducing relaxation after a tough game. Here are some of the benefits of this football workout:
- Works as a full-body workout and improves your strength and endurance.
- Improves your balance.
- Enhances core stability.
- Prevents football injury by keeping the joints flexible.Â
- Reduces the risk of joint pain and muscle strain while playing.
- Get into an all-four position.
- Extend your arms ahead while resting your hips on your knees.
- Rest your forehead on the floor. You can use a pillow or a block for better head support.
- Hold the pose for 1 minute and repeat.
8. Shoulder stretch
A shoulder stretch is a key to good performance on the field. When you stretch the shoulders after playing football, you will be able to open your chest and loosen your tight shoulders. It helps in:
- Keeping your shoulders flexible and strong.
- Prevents muscle imbalance and football injury.
- This is a great arm stretch exercise and keeps your arms stronger.
- Stand tall, fold one arm over your chest and stretch the other.
- Lock the stretched arm inside the folded arm while pulling it closer to your chest.
- Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
9. Torso stretch
Since football players need to make full-body movements, the torso stretch is an important football exercise. Besides your torso, this exercise is also amongst the best arm stretches, which helps in improving the mobility and range of motion of your arms. It helps in:
- Cooling down the muscles.
- Improving agility for faster movements.
- Stand straight and fold your left arm behind the head.
- Hold the elbow of your right arm with your left hand.
- Bend the body towards your right.
- Hold the pose for 5-10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
10. Neck stretch
Any game, including football, puts players at risk of neck strain and injuries. Lie down on the ground, facing upwards. Bend your knees. Fold your arms behind your head and clasp them using your fingers. Rest your head on the Palm. Now, push your head forward so the neck bends while the back rests on the ground. Stay in that position for 5 seconds, after which you must repeat the steps. A neck stretch is an effective football workout that allows you to have:
- Better strength in the neck muscles.
- Flexible neck movements irrespective of sudden jarring movements required while playing.
- Lie on the ground with your knees upright.
- Clasp your hands behind your head.
- Bend your neck gently towards your knee.
11. Quadriceps stretch
The quadriceps are a major muscle used while running and kicking the football. If you need balance you can hold on to some support. Stand straight and fold your right leg. Use your right arm to hold your leg and press it closer to the buttocks. Hold it for 5 seconds. Now repeat the same on the left side. These essential football stretches help you in acing your game by:
- Preventing quad fatigue and strain.
- Increasing sprint performance and agility.
- Stand straight and fold your left leg as you balance your weight on the right leg.
- Pull and hold the leg with your left hand.
- Hold the pose for 5 seconds and repeat on the other side.
12. Hamstring stretch
Your hamstring muscles majorly affect your mobility and agility while on the field. Sit flat on the ground and stretch your legs out. Fold one leg while the other leg is still stretched. Hold the foot of the stretched leg with both your hands and slightly bend it. Repeat the same step for the other leg. The hamstring stretch is an important football workout essential for:
- Tackling the defense with more precision and flexibility.
- Preventing football injuries
- Improving circulation and reducing muscle fatigue and pain.
- Sit on the ground with your legs stretched.
- Reach forward while keeping your knees straight.
- Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds.
These stretches are just simple practices that you can follow after every football game to ensure good fitness and avoid stress. For best results, these stretches can be done after a good walk, run or work-outs as well. For better full-body range of motion, stability, and strength, donât forget to add arm stretches to your cool-down regime.
If you come across any other simple stretches, like these, do mention it in the comments
Also check out the Simple Warm-up exercise you can do before your game of Football. Download the PlayO app to learn details about your sport of interest, choose venues near you and choose partners to play with according to your game goals.