Soccer injuries – how to avoid them

Published: 09 Jun 2022

Soccer injuries – how to avoid them

You have read our article about common soccer injuries.  You also know that prevention is better than cure.

How do we do prevention?  The literature currently suggests that injury prevention programs should include the following main elements:

Plyometric exercises:

Exercises that focus on using fast-twitch fibres by exerting maximum muscular force in short explosive movements.

  • Benefits:
    • Body mechanics
    • Correct Technique
    • Quicker change of direction

Neuromuscular training:

Form of exercise that is based on targeting biomechanical and neuromuscular components of movement.

  • Benefits:
    • Optimal patterns of muscle firing
    • Increased joint stability dynamically
    • Learn and develop specific skills and patterns of movement

Strength training:

Form of exercise that requires your muscles to move against a resistance such as weight or gravity in a long and slow controlled manner.

  • Benefits:
    • Muscular hypertrophy
    • Neural adaptation
    • Quicker recovery
    • Improved acceleration and vertical jump

Aerobic Training:

Physical exercise that requires use of large muscle groups to perform rhythmic, repetitive movements that are maintained continuously resulting in an elevated heart rate.

  • Benefits:
    • Handling physical demands – reduction in fatigue
    • Increased short bursts of high-intensity sprints
    • Higher VO2 max

Examples of some football-based exercises:

  • Aerobic: agility ladders.
  • Core: plank, side plank, lateral bench hops
  • Glutes: lateral lunge, single leg bridges
  • Adductor: adductor squeeze; Copenhagen; lateral Slides; kicking with theraband
  • Quadricep: wall-squat hold; squats; leg extension; jump squats
  • Hamstring: nordics, weighted arabesque; forward gliders; single leg throw and jump
  • Calf: standing single leg calf raise; seated calf raises with weight

If any of these terms confuse you – DM or send an email through – Paul will set you straight.

11+ Program

A program that has been extensively supported in the literature to reduce injuries is the 11+ injury prevention program. Here is our article on the 11+ injury prevention program


  • Reduces the overall risk of injury by 34% and lower limb injuries by 29%
  • Increases neuromuscular control
  • Promotes good technique and motor planning
  • Improves body stability and movement coordination
  • Increases spatial orientation, anticipation and attention
  • Improves strength in the lower limbs and core

Your body won’t look after you unless you make the time to look after your body.

If you do require any more specific information around injury prevention programs or further clarification around exercises for football, feel free to get in contact with me or any of our qualified physiotherapists at The Healthy Body Company.

Most importantly, keep active and enjoy your football season. Best of luck to everyone!!


  • Al Attar, W., & Alshehri, M. (2019). A meta‐analysis of meta‐analyses of the effectiveness of FIFA injury prevention programs in soccer. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports, 29(12), 1846-1855. doi: 10.1111/sms.13535
  • Pfirrmann, D., Herbst, M., Ingelfinger, P., Simon, P., & Tug, S. (2016). Analysis of injury incidences in male professional adult and elite youth soccer players: A Systematic Review. Journal Of Athletic Training, 51(5), 410-424. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-51.6.03
  • Robles-Palazón, F., López-Valenciano, A., De Ste Croix, M., Oliver, J., García-Gómez, A., Sainz de Baranda, P., & Ayala, F. (2021). Epidemiology of injuries in male and female youth football players: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal Of Sport And Health Science. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2021.10.002
  • Silva, J., Nassis, G., & Rebelo, A. (2015). Strength training in soccer with a specific focus on highly trained players. Sports Medicine – Open, 1(1). doi: 10.1186/s40798-015-0006-z
  • Thorborg, K., Krommes, K., Esteve, E., Clausen, M., Bartels, E., & Rathleff, M. (2017). Effect of specific exercise-based football injury prevention programmes on the overall injury rate in football: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the FIFA 11 and 11+ programmes. British Journal Of Sports Medicine, 51(7), 562-571. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-097066