How to Stretch for Football

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Although it's crucial to stellar athletic performance and power, "flexibility is usually one of the last things people think they need to do to improve," says performance specialist Luke Richesson. Below, he outlines some dos and don'ts regarding the flexibility training he uses at Athletes' Performance [Tempe, Ariz.] to prep the nation's best athletes for the NFL Combine.

Do
• Focus on flexibility and mobility first when you are coming off your season
• Warm up the way you actually move—with dynamic movement patterns
• Spend at least 10 minutes warming up
• Stretch a muscle group between lifting sets when mobility is your focus
• Be conscious of your posture and avoid slumped shoulders throughout the day, not just when stretching
• Use a foam roller daily
• Balance all your presses with pulls, such as Pull-ups, Dumbbell Rows or RDLs, to prevent tight pecs and a hunched posture
• Flex a muscle to force the opposing muscle to relax (e.g., flex your glutes when stretching your hip flexors)

Don't
• Wait until an injury occurs to focus on flexibility
• Stretch a muscle group between lifting sets when strength is your focus
• Bounce when holding a stretch
• Force a stretch; instead relax into it by increasing tension slowly


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | WARM-UP | STRETCHING | MOBILITY | POWER | PULLS | INJURY | FOAM ROLLER | POSTURE | ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE | FLEXIBILITY TRAINING