Can soccer players get injured during a warm-up? (detailed explanation)

It is important to warm-up before a soccer game or practice. Among other things, this makes you less likely to suffer an injury. But can you get an injury during a warm-up?

Can you sustain an injury during a warm-up for soccer?
Yes it is possible to get injured during a warm-up. This can happen, for example, when you are jogging or stretching or doing speed and reflex exercises. This is because the muscles are not properly warmed up, for example. Simple bad luck can also play a big role.

When you read on, we will go into more detail on this topic. We'll also explain how you can reduce the risk of injury during your warm-up, what injuries you can suffer and more.

How can you get an injury during a warm-up?

You have already briefly read in the intro that it is possible to sustain an injury during a warm-up. 

There are many different aspects that play a role in sustaining an injury. For example, it could be that you start too soon with an intensive workout, that you start training again too soon after an injury or sometimes it's just bad luck. 

It's also true that this doesn't just happen in soccer. Suffering an injury during other sports is just as possible. 

Fortunately, there are some things you can take into account during your warm-up to reduce the risk of injury. What these are you will read below.

How can you prevent injury during a warm-up?

So preventing injury completely during a warm-up is unfortunately not possible. Below are ways to reduce injuries during warm-ups:

Start slow

When you begin your warm-up, it is important that you start slowly. Start by jogging and don't start running too fast right away. You can also walk back and forth across the field a few times before you start jogging.

If you start doing intensive exercises too quickly with cold muscles, there is a greater chance that you will sustain an injury.

Do the warm-up in the correct order

A perfect warm-up for soccer players consists of five different phases. These are the following phases:

  • Movement exercises
  • Stretching exercises 
  • Agility exercises
  • Ball exercises
  • Speed and reflex exercises

However, it is important to always start with movement exercises first. These exercises allow the muscles to warm-up and become more flexible.

After that it is wise to do the stretching exercises and only after that to do other exercises. Wondering which stretches are good for soccer players? Then click here for an overview.

For example, if you start speed and reflex exercises when the muscles are still cold, they can strain or tear faster. This is because the intensity of these exercises is a lot higher. 

Learn more about the different phases and which exercises you can do during these phases in our blog What does a good warm-up for soccer players look like?

Wear proper clothing

It is important to wear proper clothing during warm-up. Especially if it is too cold. In this case, for example, wear a training jacket and training pants. Optionally, you can also choose to wear a sports hat, sports gloves and neck warmer. It is also possible to wear thermal clothing.

By wearing warm or thermal clothing, you prevent the muscles from cooling down too much during the warm-up.

Drink enough (water)

It is important to drink well before during and after competition. When you drink too little, you have too little water in your body. Too little water in your body means that your muscles can dry out. This can cause injuries, even during a warm-up. 

More information about this and other reasons why you should drink enough as a soccer player can be found in our blog Why should you drink enough as a soccer player?

There are many other ways to reduce the chances of injuries during your warm-up. You can read which ones in our blog How to prevent injuries in soccer (9 methods).

What injuries can you sustain during a warm-up?

Because a warm-up can be incredibly varied, many different injuries can be sustained. 

Here are some examples:

Hamstring injury
When a soccer player does speed drills, he will do small sprints. During a sprint, the hamstring muscle can strain or tear.

Swollen ankle
During agility exercises, sometimes slaloming is one of the warm-up exercises (this can be done with or without a ball). In this case, it is possible for a soccer player to sprain his ankle, for example.

Twisted knee
The knees are very susceptible to injury in soccer. During a warm-up, there is also a chance that the knee could be injured. For example, the knee can twist when a player does a shuttle run warm-up. This is because it requires the player to turn around quickly several times. 

Groin injury
When a wrong move is accidentally made when passing the ball or shooting at goal, a soccer player can suffer a groin injury as a result. 

The number of different injuries a soccer player can suffer is incredibly large. This is partly because a warm-up also mimics situations from a match.

This blog may also interest you 
Why do soccer players do warm-ups?

Well-known soccer players who suffered injuries during warm-up

Despite the fact that soccer players pay a lot of attention to the warm-up, even they can suffer an injury. Below are some examples of professional soccer players who suffered an injury before the game started.

Jesse Lingard
Jesse Lingard dropped out injured during the Carabao Cup semifinals. He had wanted to play this match with Nottingham Forest since it was against his former employer Manchester United. 

The reason he had to drop out just before time was an injury he suffered to his achilles tendon.

Nayef Aguerd
The Moroccan international had to drop out injured during the warm-up for the match against France (World Cup 2022). This was a very unfavorable time for him to drop out injured. After all, Morocco never came this far during a World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo
The superstar from Portugal had to drop out in the warm-up during his time with Real Madrid. He could not play against Espanyol as a result. 

What exactly was the reason why he did not play was not clear. What was certain was that coach Carlo Ancelotti did not want to take any risks with the winger.

Raul Jimenez
The Mexican soccer player unfortunately could not play friendly matches for his homeland. During warm-up, he suffered complaints to his groin. 

Fortunately, it was only friendly matches that the striker had to miss and nothing important was at stake.

Antony Martial
Manchester United's French striker is well known to many people as a player who is often injured. He played with Manchester United against Everton but could only participate in the game for half an hour. 

He had to leave the game early due to an injury he sustained during the warm-up. He decided to bite through the pain and play anyway. Unfortunately, it turned out that he could not continue why his match came to an early end.

Thibaut Courtois
Not only field players can suffer an injury during warm-up. Real Madrid's Belgian goalkeeper was unable to play against Mallorca. What injury he suffered is not known. His fellow goalkeeper Andriy Lunin from Ukraine was his replacement. 

The match did not turn out well for Real Madrid. Andriy Lunin had to fish the ball out of the net once. Real Madrid lost the match 1-0.


By now you know that soccer players can also get injured during a warm-up. Just like during a soccer game or practice, players can suffer all kinds of different injuries. 

100 percent prevention of a player getting injured during warm-up is not possible. Fortunately, you now know what to consider to reduce the chances of an injury during warm-up. 

Curious about more blogs on warm-ups? Then click here for an overview.

February 20, 2023
Published: February 20, 2023