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12:40 PM

Stretch it Out

Pre- (Dynamic) and Post-Match (Static) Stretching Routines

Dynamic stretching continues to be a very beneficial, but sometimes underutilized tool prior to athletic activity. It consists of active stretching using controlled, rhythmic movements. Dynamic stretching not only increases flexibility but also aids in coordination and balance, allowing your student-athlete to focus on precision, rhythm and stability. Athletes can stretch through their full range of motion as they are improving their awareness of their body’s capabilities.

This improved awareness decreases the risk of injury during competition. Dynamic stretching prepares the full body for competition by increasing the blood flow, elevating the heart rate and elevating the respiratory rate. Research shows that athletes following a dynamic stretching protocol versus static stretching perform significantly better regarding balance, agility and movement.

Pregame Routine Stretches

Here are a few common dynamic stretches* to add to a pregame routine:‚Äč


  • Lift your toes up and back down to achieve full range of motion, while walking forward on your toes.

Walking on the outside edge of your feet to strengthen your ankles

Knee hugs

  • Bring your knee up towards your chest, maintaining your balance. Alternate with both sides.

Ankle hugs

  • Pull your heel towards your bottom. Alternate with both sides.


  • Place hands on the floor in front of you, keeping your knees as straight as possible. Walk your hands out into a plank position then walk your feet up to your hands and repeat.

Open the Gate

  • Bring your knee up, out to the side, and back down. Alternate with both sides.

Straight-leg Kicks

  • Keep your knee straight and kick up as high as you can, reaching across with your opposite arm to touch your toes. Alternate with both sides.

Forward Lunges

  • Keep a 90-degree angle bend with the front knee and straight back leg. You should feel a stretch on the back leg, in the front of the hip. Alternate with both sides.

Lateral Lunge

  • Keep a 90-degree angle in the bent knee and opposite knee straight. You should feel a stretch on your inner thigh. Alternate with both sides.

Backward Lunges

  • Keep a 90-degree angle bend with the front knee and slight bend in the back leg. Alternate with both sides, moving backward.

High Knees

  • Lifting your knees towards your chest with quick feet. Alternate on both sides.

Butt Kicks

  • Bring your heel up towards your bottom with quick feet. Alternate on both sides.

A Skips:

  • Skip high, not far, exaggerating the movement of your arms and driving your knee up in the air quickly. Alternate with each leg.

*All these activities are performed moving forward. Recommended distance of at least 50 feet, for each warmup activity.

A few common dynamic warm-ups for the arms are arm circles, resistance bands or tubing that replicate components of the upcoming activity, bear crawls or inchworm variations.

It’s important that your student-athlete is focusing on good form with proper core and glute stability when doing these movements to get the full benefit. A few key components include:

  1. Keeping the core tight by not allowing the trunk to tilt side to side
  2. Proper quads and hamstrings co-contraction by keeping the knee behind the toes
  3. Glute stability by having the knee out over the little toe with all lunging warm-ups

Postgame Stretches

Static stretching does have benefits to gain flexibility, but it is recommended to be done post-activity and after competitions. It is always important to remember that each student-athlete has individual needs of which there may need to be unique attributes to the static stretching routine. Here are some suggested post-match stretching ideas:

Standing-calf stretch

  • Hold 30 seconds, repeat 1-3* times on each leg.
  • Important: Keep all toes facing the wall, with feet parallel.

Seated-hamstring stretch

  • Hold 30 seconds, repeat 1-3* times on each leg.
  • Important: Keep back upright, lean forward leading with your chest.

Supine-quad stretch

  • With your leg off the table, hold onto your ankle to feel a stretch on the top of your thigh. Try to allow the knee to drop below the table height. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 1-3* times on each leg.

Half-kneel, hip-flexor stretch

  • Hold 30 seconds, repeat 1-3* times on each leg.
  • Important: Keep your back straight and hips forward, to feel the stretch in the front of the hip on the leg that is down.

Pigeon stretch

  • Hold 30 seconds, repeat 1-3 times on each leg.
  • You should feel this stretch is your buttocks.

Foam rolling IT band

  • Do for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Foam rolling Quads

  • Do for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Foam rolling Glutes

  • Do for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

*One repetition to maintain flexibility. If you have tightness in this area, you should be doing 3 repetitions.


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