The Importance of a Proper Warm-Up & Recovery


Youth Soccer Players: Advice from Adam Schauer on Warm Up and Recovery for Top Performance

Adam Schauer has his BS is Exercise Science, he is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and is FMS Functional Movement Systems certified and is the Speed & Conditioning Coach at San Diego Surf SC.

Summer is finally upon us, and the time for camps, training, and tournaments has finally arrived. With the youth soccer tournament season kicking off and Manchester City America’s Cup happening this Memorial Day Weekend, San Diego Surf SC‘s resident Speed & Conditioning Coach, Adam Schauer, shared some feedback on the extreme importance of a good warmup and recovery, what those ideal routines look like, and the tools to maximize performance.


Adam Schauer warming up players in May 2016 at SD Surf SC

Diane Scavuzzo: Can you explain the importance of a proper warmup? Most youth soccer players want to skip the warm up and get to playing soccer ….

Adam Schauer: The warm up is important, especially if you want to play well and help avoid injuries.

The ideal warmup gets all of the fascia, muscles, joints, and tendons working in unison while maximizing range of motion in order to facilitate both endurance and explosiveness.

In other words, get every part of your body moving the way it is meant to move!

Diane Scavuzzo: What would the ideal warmup routine look like?

Adam Schauer: Players should start off with a 3-5 minute myofascial tissue release routine, which I usually just call “rolling out.”



We use GurillaBN Rollers and Styks to get the blood flowing, balance out the major muscle receptors, and elongate the the muscular fascial tissue. Ground rollers are best for the large muscles like quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes, and back. Muscle Sticks and lacrosse balls are used for more focused pressure on specific parts of the large muscles and smaller muscles like the piriformis (hips), soleus (inner calf), and anterior tibialis (shins).
When rolling out, players need to try and find “trigger points”, or specific areas of increased tightness, that can be focused on for slightly longer in order to help relieve pains in joints along the kinetic chain.

Relieving trigger points help to combat overcompensation while performing which is the leading cause of sports injuries!



It is important to warm up the hamstrings

Next, 5 minutes of light jogging and dynamic movements to take the hips through all planes of motion should be done. These movements include leg swings in multiple directions, kick-outs, and “opening and closing the gates.”

After that, a player should go through more dynamic stretches for 2-3 minutes, concentrating on the major muscle groups that were rolled out, with 3-5 second holds.

Be careful not to hold the stretch for too long — that could cause the muscles and connective tissue to lose elasticity, which affects explosiveness.

Finally, progress to more game specific, ballistic movements like short sprints and changes of direction. In total, this routine should take about 10-12 minutes and should be followed by the soccer-specific technical drills and warmups that will get a player ready for peak performance.

Diane Scavuzzo: After a game has been played, what is the importance of a good recovery routine?


Adam Schauer: A good recovery routine, or “cool down” is absolutely essentially after any game, but especially important during soccer tournaments or tough weekends — where players can be participating in 4-5 games over a two or three day period.

The main effect of a good cool down is that a player will feel physically better for the next game.

There will be less muscle and joint soreness and increased mobility and range of motion. This last of effect, range of motion, is the MOST important aspect and is what will help most in preventing injury.

Diane Scavuzzo:  What is your suggested recovery routine?

Adam Schauer: Recovery should look very similar to the warmup.

Hip mobilities and dynamic movements are again important, and should be done for about 5 minutes at a slightly slower and more deliberate pace than the warmup. This can be followed by rolling out, for 5-8 minutes this time, going a little slower and deeper than in the warmup, making sure to find, be aware of, and focus on any new trigger points that may have developed during the game.

Static stretching should be done last for about 5 minutes, with 10-30 second holds being ideal. The key here is that while static stretching is important, holding a stretch for too long can cause a muscle or connective tissue to lose elasticity, which can cause a 5-10% reduction in explosion and power output!

The ballisitic movements that are done at the end of the warmup routine are not necessary for a cool down. In all, this routine should take about 15 minutes.

Diane Scavuzzo: You mentioned that you use some tools at Surf to help with these routines. What warmup/recovery tools would you suggest that every player have in their soccer bag?

Adam Schauer: I recommend that every player have a roller, muscle stick, lacrosse ball, and a resistance band with them for both training sessions and games.

For elite players and athletes, regular foam rollers are both too soft and lose their shape too quickly, we use @GurillaBN Rollers and Muscle Styks at Surf because they are the best performance recovery tools I have come across and they are also a local, San Diego-based company.

Resistance bands are used to aid in hip mobility exercises, while Lacrosse balls can help with myofascial release on really tough to reach areas of the the upper back and hips. Both resistance bands and lacrosse balls can be found at any sporting good store.

Diane Scavuzzo: What should players do to stay in top form this summer? 

Adam Schauer: I would love to let all players ages 14 and older know about our College Preparatory Camp that will be happening June 14th-August 4th.

It’s an 8 week strength program geared for all aspects of performance enhancement and injury prevention.

The players will learn new myofascial release techniques, how to increase hip and thoracic spine mobility, and will be taken through a systematic movement prep before each soccer specific strength and conditioning session.

You can find Gurilla Rollers online. Professional soccer player and youth soccer coach Ryan Guy is the co-founder of Gurilla Rollers and designed these products to meet the needs of professional players. The idea was to develop a muscle roller that would outperform anything currently on the market. Want to save money? Use discount code “surfsoccer” at checkout for 10% off your entire order.

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Daniel McKell