OK, let’s finish up talking about the importance of flexibility in the game we all love, football.

Dallas Cowboy running back Felix Jones. (ICON Sports)

Oh, and if you missed part one, check it out here.

Onward.

Let’s finish up.

Lesson #4: It’s Important to Know What Muscles are Involved in What Athletic Movements

 

We know that stretching helps your performance on the field, but it’s also important to know which muscles are most important for specific movements.

Why?  Because you’ll know which muscles you need to stretch, and you’ll know which on-field tasks you’ll get better at by stretching each muscle group, so it can serve as motivation for you to get off the couch and stretch when you don’t feel like it.

Below is a list of some of the major muscles in our bodies, along with the specific movements on the football field that they impact.

Related:The Truth about In Season Football Training

(This list was partially constructed using the list in the Football Stretching and Flexibility Exercises article, the rest of it I filled-in myself, after doing some Googling).

Hamstring -Running, Jumping

Glutes-Running, jumping, Cutting

Hip Abductors – lateral movement (moving from side-to-side)

Quadriceps -Running, Jumping, Kicking

 

Calf muscles -Running, Jumping

Core Muscles -overall speed, power, and energy

Hip Flexors  – Running, Jumping

**For the record, the above list isn’t exhaustive in listing all of the muscles that are important, but should give you a good idea of which muscle groups do what.

 

Lesson #5: The Order of Your Stretching Matters

 

I gotta be honest in saying that I didn’t know that the order of your stretching made a difference.
In Football Stretching and Flexibility Exercises, Taylor Tollison (a Performance Enhancement Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine) said that stretching should be done in three stages, in an exact order.

Here’s the order Tollison recommended:

1. Foam rolling

2. Static Stretching

3. Dynamic Stretching

 

Foam Rolling Explained

Foam rolling relaxes your muscles, and moves blood into and out of the body part your applying it to.

The old blood is moved out of the muscle, along with waste, allowing it to be swept to your kidneys for filtering.  The new blood that comes into your muscles help reconstruct them and can help the healing of your muscles.

Related: Bounce Back Faster! 5 Essentials of Athletic Injury Management

In case you’re new to the concept of foam rolling, check out this video by Cressey Performance.

 

As you know, I’m big on finding an edge.  I hope these tips help you add another edge to your repertoire, to increase your chances of playing football on Sundays one day.

Do you stretch regularly?  Why or why not?  Leave a comment below.

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier

Click here to connect with us on Facebook.

 

References:

Oh, one more thing.  Below are the links to the articles that I read to come up with this list of things I learned.

The Performance Benefits of Flexibility Training (via brianmac.co.uk)

Football Stretching and Flexibility Exercises (via stretchingworld.com)

The Benefits of Flexibility Training (via sport-fitness-advisor.com)

How Stretching Increases Athletic Performance (via stretchingworld.com)
 

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