• Matt Cox

Top 5 strengthening exercises to prevent injuries in Football

With footballers side-lined for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19, it’s a great time to work on your strength and flexibility in preparation for when the season restarts.

As a footballer myself I know the struggles of getting persistent hamstring injuries, or those calf strains, which show their head at key moments of the season. But there are things you can do to reduce the risk of sustaining these problematic soft tissue injuries. Professional and semi-professional clubs now encourage all their players to actively engage in workouts specifically designed to help prevent and lower the risk of injuries. 4 of the most common injuries footballers sustain include; ankle sprains, hamstring strains, groin strains and anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Of course, some injuries are unavoidable, such as a bad tackle or landing awkwardly, but if we can limit the occurrence of the non-traumatic injuries, we can help players stay fit and continue playing.

Below I have listed 5 exercises that are designed to target areas most at risk of injury.

Split squat:

From a standing position, take a long step forwards as if performing a lunge. The heel of your back foot should be raised. Keeping your torso straight, lower slowly until your back knee almost touches the floor, then push back up. Complete all your reps on one leg, then switch to your other leg. Aim to complete 4 sets of 12 reps x2 a week. An alternative to the split squat is the single leg sit to stand as seen below. Slow and controlled up and down. Aim to do 10 x 3 sets.

Calf Raises:

Stand one leg with your toes pointing forward. Raise your heel off the floor as high as you can before slowly lowering back down to the floor. Aim to complete approx. 20 reps on each leg, x1 set. Perform x2 a week.