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Stretching the muscles and warming up - essential elements for playing football.
A subject on which all players have their little pet ideas and habits! There is a lot of 'received wisdom' or folklore in this area so we thought it a good idea to explain best practices in the area of stretching by focusing on one issue: WHEN to stretch? In other words, at one point in our football activities, particularly during training, is it good to stretch?
To make it simple and effective, we split stretches into 2 different types: passive stretches and active stretches. What is the difference between the two? When and how to stretch
Passive stretches are performed exclusively at the end of a session. Their purpose is to relax the muscles and aid recovery.
Despite what many people think, passive stretching is not recommended during a training session, in fact it is even recommended against, because it increases the risk of torn muscles and other muscular injuries. In the end it could do more harm than good.
Passive stretching is really an activity for stretching at the end of a training session.
How to do passive stretching You need to focus on each muscle for 20 to 30 seconds. You really need to help it relax, to ensure it's only under slight tension, you shouldn't push it too far and make it painful because this reduces effectiveness, both in terms of the stretches and by increasing the risk of muscle injury.
Ideally, you stretch cold muscles and not warm muscles, a new method which has been approved by multiple high-level athletes. You should wait for between an hour and an hour and a half for your muscles to cool down before stretching.
Active stretches are used just after a good warm-up.
Instructions: contract the muscle for 5 or 6 seconds and perform an active exercise. For example, stretch the quadriceps for 5 seconds, then do several knee lifts, stretch the hamstrings and then lift your heel to your buttock, and so on.
Again, the same as with passive stretches, this is a new method which has proven effectiveness during and before training, or just after a warm-up.
After training, we talk about active stretches, which are very short stretches which tension the muscle and keep them warm, unlike passive stretches which are for cooling and relaxing them.