By Brian Goodstein A.T.,C., CSCS former conditioning coach and athletic trainer for the U.S. Men’s National Team and the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer
Reprinted with permission from Performance Conditioning Soccer.
Hip mobility is important in establishing and moving from a low, defensive-athletic position. Before embarking on the comprehensive conditioning program, athletes must be able to perform the following series of functional movements. If an athlete cannot perform these movements, a specialized conditioning program should be established to achieve this objective. Mastery of the following body weight exercises will ensure proper mechanics and prevent injury.
Hurdles can be adjusted to a variety of heights, ranging from 30 to 42 inches. The setting should be determined by height and hip flexibility of each athlete. Cost per hurdle is about $65.00.
Menu of Exercises
Pendulum Swings: Facing perpendicular to the hurdle, swing nearest leg back and forth 20 times. Facing the hurdle with hands holding the hurdle, swing leg side-to-side 20 times each direction. Alternate legs.
Step-Overs: Line up eight hurdles approximately waist high. Place hurdles about two feet apart. Facing the hurdles, step over by flexing the hip and extending the first leg over. Then the leg that follows abducts and internally rotates over the hurdle (classic hurdler track style). Alternate legs.
Straddle Rotations: Start straddling a hurdle, flex, abduct and internally rotate hip over hurdle,
turning 180 degrees by pivoting on the planted foot. Alternate legs. See Figure 1.
Back Step-Overs: Start with back to hurdle. Flex hip, externally rotate and step backward over hurdle. Alternate legs.
Leg Swings: Standing next to the hurdle, flex hip with straight leg and externally swing leg over hurdle. Then trail leg flexes at the hip and internally swings over the hurdle. Alternate legs. See Figure 2.
Alternating Duck Walks: Duck walk in a deep squat position under hurdle, followed by stepping over the next hurdle. Repeat.
Alternating Lateral Ducks: Duck walk laterally stepping underneath a hurdle in a low lunge position, then over with a lateral step. Repeat. See Figure 3.