Football season is here, and the sport demands healthy, strong bodies. It is explosive, with high-intensity plays lasting between 2-15 seconds. Strength and power are put out in a few moments then the player rests up and does it again. A football training chiropractor can take players to another level with therapeutic massage, body strengthening, and rehabilitation so that players can enjoy a healthy injury-free season.
Stretching and Warm-Up
Stretching and a dynamic warm-up are essential to strengthening the body and preventing injury. Stretching is necessary to increase the range of motion in the muscles, especially when the body is in an awkward position; it can adapt. A dynamic warm-up increases the core temperature of the muscles and prepares the muscles, joints, and nervous system for the physical event. The critical muscles are the hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves. The warm-up consists of a series of progressive movement drills that include:
Proper stretching, followed by a dynamic warm-up, will maximize performance.
Cardio, Aerobic, and Anaerobic Fitness
- Cardio training increases oxygen and blood circulation to play for a long time without getting tired.
- Aerobic fitness increases oxygen and provides endurance to break through or enhance tackles, sustained effort, and strength.
- Anaerobic fitness utilizes high-intensity exercises to challenge the body without using a lot of oxygen like cardio and aerobics do.
- All are important, especially for players playing the whole or most of the game.
The core is where power and strength come from. It refers to the muscles around the trunk and pelvis, including the diaphragm, abdominal wall, low back, and hips. Reinforcing the core will enhance balance, stability, and efficiency and reduce the risk of injury. The core muscles under the washboard abs link upper-body power with lower-body torque. In-season strength training provides a progressive buildup to optimal fitness and performance. The focus is on the following:
- Speed maintenance.
- Aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
- Strength and power.
- Emphasis on injury prevention training stabilizer muscles for balance and agility.
A core workout could consist of the following:
It is recommended to allow at least two days between training sessions and games. Avoid strength training on the same day as working out on the field.
- Rest entirely from strength training for one week in five.
- Light workouts are fine.
Football players have unique hydration needs due to the exposure to extreme heat or cold while wearing heavy equipment. Top-rated athletic trainers monitor weather conditions, length and time of day at practice and games, and the hydration levels of each player. Hydration recommendations include:
- Hydrate before, during, and after practices and games.
- Two to three hours before the game, drink 17 to 20 fluid ounces of water or a sports drink.
- Ten to 20 minutes before the game, drink seven to 10 fluid ounces of water or a sports drink.
- During practices, drink seven to 10 fluid ounces of water or sports drink every 10 to 20 minutes with the helmet off.
- Post-practice/game, correct any fluid loss, ideally within two hours.
- The hydration should contain water to restore hydration, carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores, and electrolytes to speed the recovery process.
Football Training Chiropractic
Chiropractic care has become integral to NFL players’ health and training programs. All 32 teams have a chiropractor, and according to the Professional Football Chiropractic Society, the average NFL team chiropractor gives 30-50 treatments a week. Chiropractic treats conditions like neuromusculoskeletal strain injuries, neck pain, back pain, strains to the hamstring and quadriceps, and injuries caused by whiplash-like movements. Benefits include:
- Increased strength
- Increased endurance
- Increased flexibility and mobility
- Enhanced muscle efficiency
- Pain relief
- Injury Prevention
Chiropractic Care Player Testimonials
Iaia, F Marcello, et al. “High-intensity training in football.” International journal of sports physiology and performance vol. 4,3 (2009): 291-306. doi:10.1123/ijspp.4.3.291
Lorenz, Daniel, and Scot Morrison. “CURRENT CONCEPTS IN PERIODIZATION OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR THE SPORTS PHYSICAL THERAPIST.” International journal of sports physical therapy vol. 10,6 (2015): 734-47.
Robbins, Daniel W. The Normalization of Explosive Functional Movements in a Diverse Population of Elite American Football Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: April 2012 – Volume 26 – Issue 4 – p 995-1000
Stump, John L, and Daniel Redwood. “The use and role of sports chiropractors in the national football league: a short report.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 25,3 (2002): E2. doi:10.1067/mmt.2002.122326
Zein MI, Saryono S, Laily I, Garcia-Jimenez JV. The effect of high-intensity circuit training-modified FIFA 11+ program on physical fitness among young football players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2020;60:11-6. DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09813-X
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