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Before starting a match we see football players performing activities on the pitch.

What are they doing, what are they doing it for? They are doing warm-up exercises.

Should these exercises always be done? Or just before each game? Is it the same thing to do any exercise?

Well let's first explain our definition of warm-up and then we will explain it.

Warm up is a set of physical, general and specific exercises, conducted in a gradual and orderly manner, prior to physical activity, of higher than normal intensity, in order to prepare the body properly.

In the case of football, warming up would be the exercises and activities before intense physical activity (match or training) to prepare the player for it.

Let us explain the definition:

1.Exercises and physical activities.- General body movements are performed such as running, repetitions of joint mobility, stretching the muscles.

Such activities are physically carried out, it's not just mentioning them, it's not to watch a video, the player has to move.

2. General and specific exercises and activities.

- The first movements are to mobilize large parts of the body, valid for any subsequent physical activity (General warm-up).

Afterwards, exercises will be done to stimulate specific parts of the body that will be applied in the subsequent activity (Specific warm-up).

In the case of football, in the specific part, more emphasis will be put on ball handling, we will work on technical exercises:

passes, control, driving, etc ...

Current trends recommend using the ball from the beginning, i.e., in the general section (running, displacements) 

because we can start requesting, stimulate perceptual mechanisms, helping to "warm up" the mental processes involved in decision making at a time.

So it is no wonder that more and more coaches are begin the warm-up in training sessions with activities in which the ball is involved, asking for the athlete's attention.

But attention is not only to introduce the ball as a "fun" element in the warm-up activities, you have to design activities where the player has to analyse what is happening,

and use the ball to decide to do something.

In the last part of the warm-up, I like to leave a few minutes to athletes to mobilize,

stretch, or execute the exercises personally needed because they "know" their bodies better (individual or personal or warm-up).

3. They are done in a gradual and orderly manner.

- At first movements will be slow and in soft intensity.

As we move forward, the warm-up will gradually increase in intensity.

Traditionally and in order not to forget any of the important body parts to warm-up, the appropriate was to follow an order both in exercises, as in the embodiment of the movements and stretches: 1st we activate the whole body, 2nd we will move joints, 3rd we stretch the muscles, 4th we perform specific exercises related to the immediately subsequent activity.

Currently with the introduction of the ball to stimulate perceptual mechanisms and help improve the decision making and implementation, we warm-up with the ball.

Ball exercises can easily be very intensive.

So it is very important to follow this rule and exercises are to be performed gradually and in an orderly manner.

4. Subsequent activity is higher than the normal intensity.

- to go for a walk, swim at the beach or pool, biking, etc.

warming up is not necessary, because the intensity of these activities is not high.

To load a truck with cement bags, or boxes of fruit, and to perform a sporting activity are intense physical activities.

In football, it's the same: to perform a tactical activity (movements of the players when attacking from goal kick in short to play from behind, or how to defend a corner kick?)

How players will stand or how much walking around, will not require warm-up.

Instead a tactic training where explosive and high intensity movements are needed (end actions) will need a good warm up.

On occasion I've met with coaches that after making a good warm-up, have begun to explain something to their players for a long time.

As you know, the effects of a warm-up are lost after 10 minutes.

If you're going to explain something that you think may be long, start your session with the explanation and then the warm-up.

Don't forget that both long passes and shots on goal, will require warming up.

Both gestures are explosive (on thighs) and eccentric contractions occur (the most harmful because of their high intensity) in hamstrings.

Many injuries occur by leaving the locker room in cold and hit the ball from away of the goalkeeper or try to touch the goal's crossbar with a shot.

5. In order to prepare the body properly.

The only objective is to PREPARE the athlete for subsequent activity.

We must also remember this in football: it's not only to handle the ball and attend to stimuli, we must also think about the physiological effects that we want to stimulate during warm-up:

increase ventilation rate (breathing), heart rate, muscle temperature, muscle elasticity ... remember that from rest position to the position of high intensity (a sprint in a footballer) physiological parameters soar: 12-15 ventilation cycle per minute at 30-40; temperature of 36 degrees to 41 degrees centigrade; pulses from 50-60 to 190-210 bpm ...

I hope to have helped you understand what warming-up applied to football means and that you've seen the keys to designing the necessary activities.

If you want to know more about warming-up, I invite you to read the article "Warm-up phase" in which I explain how to do it properly with exercise.

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