Warm Ups: A Smooth Ramp Up to High Speed Play

In our program, warm ups for speed training sessions can be very different from day to day. This is because we are looking to progress from simple activation, mobility, stability exercises, into rhythmic movements that mimic the specific focus of the day. We want to finish off our progression with a simulated activity that enhances awareness, focus and application, all while gradually bringing the heart rate (HR) up to fairly intense levels (just under 90%). Here are some examples of 3 different types of warm ups when viewed via the Polar Team 2 System.

These warm ups began right after the player went through 5 minutes of light stretching on their own, foam roller work, etc. We like to start off with something easy, this could be anything from dynamic lunges, to skipping, to lateral hops (what some might refer to as aerobic plyometrics). We are trying to bring the HR up to about 65-70%. Then we begin to increase the tempo and duration of the activity, sometimes as long as 1 minute on 1 minute active recovery (example 1 above), and sometimes we have activites that ramp up to higher intensities that will last 20-30 seconds (as in example 3 above). These activities would be more technical speed based drills, everything from cone crossovers to rhythmic pattern based agility. But ultimately we are looking to coach as we develop comfort with the movement and increase HR to 75-80% (example 3 above).

From this point we want a smooth transition to a drill that will require more decision making (passing, dribbling, passive 1v1’s, etc.). This will bring their HR up to just about 90% and even though we are pushing the tempo and complexity of the drills, we still have not gone full speed yet. Then we back them off, explain the purpose of today’s session, allow them to do some light stretching on their own (usually 2-3 reps per muscle group, holding each stretch for no more than 2-3 seconds). By this time the group is quiet, focused, warm and ready to go. We can get right into our first drill at full pace with very little need to motivate or encourage.

Here is a video example of this progression from our Dynamic Warm Ups for Soccer Product

To recap:

  • Break warm up into 3 categories (stretch/activate, move/teach, apply/stimulate)
  • Each category ramps up HR (60-70%, 70-80%, 80-90%)
  • Transition from stationary, to uni-directional, to multi-directional to random/chaotic
  • Players have brief opportunity to continue stretching during brief rest periods




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