Stretching drills may seem like a relaxing way to bide time before an excruciating practice on a hot August afternoon, but football players should be aware that stretching isn’t just a coach’s way of wasting time or providing a break.
“One thing you find is many younger kids aren’t very mobile,” states Gabe Teeple, assistant strength and conditioning coach for Vanderbilt University. “[To correct this] we use a dynamic warm-up to loosen the hips, the lower back, the hip flexors, and the hamstrings.”
To prevent muscle pulls and improve joint flexibility, Teeple has Commodore football players perform two stretching drills with hurdles—the “Step Over” and “Duck Under”—before workouts. You can’t control the weather at practice, but you can control whether you pull a muscle.
• Place 5-10 hurdles in line and adjust to 36” in height
• Facing forward, walk over hurdles with lead leg followed by trail leg
• Perform drill once or twice before hitting the weights or practice field
Benefits: Develops hip fluidity // Promotes coordination
Teeple’s Tips: Make sure to drive knee up and step over hurdle instead of around // Keep your head and arms still throughout the drill // Avoid extraneous movements // Concentrate on proper posture // All movements should be fluid
• Place 5-10 hurdles in line and adjust to 48” in height
• Stand left so hurdles are to your right
• Using proper squat form and technique, duck under first hurdle
• Quickly pivot 180 degrees [hurdle will be to your left] and duck under next hurdle; repeat pattern
• Perform drill once or twice before practices
Benefits: Increases rotational balance and agility // Strengthens core and lower body
Teeple’s Tips: Maintain sound squat technique throughout exercise // Keep chest up and back straight while squatting // Always keep head and eyes up and avoid extraneous arm movement