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3 Exercises for Soccer Injury Prevention

April 10, 2013 | Piotr Damek

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Playing and practicing soccer skills for several seasons may do wonders for your game, but it also takes a toll on your body. Repeating the same movement patterns over long periods of time creates muscle imbalances, especially in the glutes, hamstrings and vastus medialis obique muscles.

The nature of soccer makes these muscles weaker in relation to others, subjecting players to greater risk of injury. (See also Eliminate Muscle Imbalances to Improve Performance and Stay Injury-Free.) Correct imbalances (and avoid the ER) by including the following three exercises in your workouts. As the old saying goes, "Your body is only as strong as it's weakest link."

Single-Leg Deadlift

Sets/Reps: 3x10 per leg

  • Stand on one foot with about a 20-degree knee bend
  • Keep your arms relaxed at your sides
  • Fully extend your other leg behind your body
  • Hinge at the hip, push your butt back and reach down, keeping your back straight
  • Return to start position

Step Down

Sets/Reps: 3x10 per leg

  • Find a low platform, around eight to 12 inches high
  • Standing on one leg, extend your other leg in front of your body
  • Bend the knee of your standing leg and step down to where the heel of your extended leg touches the ground
  • Don't let your knee buckle or cave in; keep it in line with your foot throughout the movement
  • Lift yourself up and return to start position

Split Squat

Sets/Reps: 3x10 per leg

  • Stand with one leg forward and the other toward the rear
  • Squat down by flexing the knee and hip of your front leg
  • Allow the heel of your rear foot to lift up and the knee of your rear leg to bend slightly until it almost makes contact with the floor
  • Return to the original straddle position by extending the hip and knee of your forward leg
  • Keep your torso upright and your knees in line with your feet throughout the movement
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