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Prehabilitation Exercises to Reduce Risk of Injury

This article was generously provided by Michael Rose, MS (University of Pittsburgh) CSCS (Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist) of New Wave Soccer Conditioning.

New Wave Soccer Conditioning ( is an on-line, soccer specific strength & conditioning program that includes videos, graphic pictures/photos, & written instructions for drills/exercises along with program design options for those individuals interested in purchasing the program (by clicking on any 'signup' link buttons on the web site).

The purpose of including prehabilitation exercises in your strength & conditioning program is to target specific parts of the body, which have a higher risk of injury when participating in a particular sport. This concept can apply to the individual athlete, who has their own specific prior history of injuries, or to the entire team with several members having suffered similar injuries.

Focusing a little extra attention on a specific part of the body might not only decrease the probability of injury, but also the severity of injury. Including just 1 or 2 prehabilitation exercises could provide a benefit when combined with the rest of your strength & conditioning program. The obvious benefit of reducing the probability and severity of injuries is reducing the amount of missed practices and games.

The areas of the body that should be targeted for prehabilitation to address the concerns of a soccer athlete are the neck (absorbing the stress when heading a ball), the low back (tolerating the different movements of the trunk during game conditions), the hips (helping control the bodyŠŐ» center of gravity through strength, flexibility, & functional stability), the knees (better tolerate the stress caused by running, stopping, cutting, & jumping-correcting muscle imbalances in strength is an important strategy for preventing potential injuries.), and the ankles (better able to withstand the forces placed on them by most of the weight of the entire body during all movements).

Ankle injuries are a great concern for soccer athletes, and the ankles should be strengthened in all range of motions (plantarflexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, & eversion). Athletes should emphasize implementing prehabilitation exercises during the off-season.

However, there should not be any hesitation to use a prehabilitation exercise during the playing season, if there is a special area of concern which needs to be given extra attention. Mix in using these exercises when working on the appropriate component of your program(e.g. perform low back stabilization exercises during your core training).

Michael Rose, MS, CSCS offers an on-line, soccer specific strength & conditioning program at

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