Like all warm up exercises, ideas on proper stretches are varied and should be tailored to suit the sport. In our case GAA sports require obvious extended leg, back and arm movements and these areas require extensive work to bring each area to the required level of mobility before over extension in training or match environment.
My personal choice is to work each area lightly building up intensity before doing full stretching.
Dynamic Leg Stretches
Whilst jogging get players to put hands out palms down with elbows tucked into the waist. Then get them to bring knees up to touch the hands which allows for gentle stretching of hamstrings and buttocks while warming the core.
Change hands to the backside and get players to kick heels against their hands again stretching key muscles groups while working their core also.
Backward running on the toes will help calf muscles reach optimum temperature for training.
Once you progress through this regime, standard hamstring stretches and groin stretches can lead on to more dynamic high kicking – hand out in front at shoulder level, take 2 steps into a kick up to the hand.
Back and arms
Again I like to start slowly warming the core with a jog with simple instructions of left hand or right hand touching the ground alternatively on the command whilst jogging (also good for reactions and getting players ‘clued in’ at start of session. Then some press ups followed by neck stretches left and right and up and down. All the time is about building intensity – move on to full torso twists and arm circles.
Again there are principles to follow with dynamic stretches and by experimenting you can find what best suits your players and their performance levels.
It is very important though that players are allowed a short period as described in our article on warm ups to work their body for 5 minutes in an individual session as each player will have different areas that will require more intense work.