To be a Dynamic Football Player, Stretch Like One

As a 7-year old child I was diagnosed with a hip condition that did not allow me to play sports for a few years.

Once I could play again I chose a sport that became near and dear to my heart, football. I know what you’re thinking. Did you play on a boy’s teams? Did you play tackle football, like with helmets and pads? And the answer to those two questions is, yes!

Now, if we fast forward in time to the present, and ask me those questions again.

Do you play on a boys’ team? No. I play on a women’s team. Do you play tackle football, like they do in NFL, with all the gear and full contact? Yes, yes, I do.

Given the nature of my hip condition, I was always educated about the importance and benefits of stretching. Hold the eye rolling and the negative thoughts about not enjoying stretching. I am not asking you to stretch right now, I am just going to explain to you the stretching technique I like to do to keep my hips healthy, and get a good warm up in before I take the field.

Related: Keep Your Athlete Injury Free

Definition of Dynamic Stretching:

The type of stretching I like to do for a warm up is called dynamic stretching. What is dynamic stretching you ask? To put it simply, dynamic stretching is stretching while moving. This type of stretch is good at warming up the muscles by doing moves that are like the motions you do on the field. It’s a great way to prime the muscles before the game!

Related: Exercising With Knee Pain: You Still Can

What are the benefits of a dynamic warm up?

  • Prepares your body for the sport and reduces the risk of injury. Dynamic stretching increases the blood flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow means the muscles are getting the fuel they need to work properly, thus reducing the risk of injury.
  • Dynamic stretching is stretching while moving so you are using and stretching multiple muscles at a time. Muscles don’t act individually they act as a group, so you should warm them up as a group.
  • Increasing the blood flow, and warming up muscles as groups primes the body to be ready for play.
Related: The Right Way To Run

My Top Five Dynamic Stretches:

  • Walking Quad Stretch
  • Lunge with a Twist
  • Side Lunge
  • Frankenstein’s
  • Windmills

Down, Set, Fun Fact: American Football grew out of English sports such as rugby and soccer and became popular on American college campuses in the late 1800s.

If you have any questions about dynamic stretching feel free to reach out to me at hgraves@mainephysicaltherapy.com. And don’t forget to take advantage of our free pain consultations at our Portland, Gorham, or South Portland clinics. We can always help you within 24hrs.

By Haylee Graves, PT, DPT

Back in Motion® Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

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