Football Warmup Drills

Football drill pads on football field

Warm-up drills help prepare football players for practice by getting their blood flowing and their muscles stretched. Michael J. Arthur and Bryan L. Bailey, authors of "Complete Conditioning for Football," advise that players warm up for eight to 10 minutes at the start of practice. An effective warm-up session will prepare players physically and mentally for the rigorous practice ahead.

High Knees

The High Knees warm-up drill helps players develop the muscle tone necessary to sprint more quickly, Arthur and Bailey write. Create a 10-yard course. Have players sprint the course taking fast, short one-foot steps. Players must bring their knees up high so their thighs are parallel to the playing field and keep the opposite leg fully extended and slightly behind them. Players perform two repetitions of the 10-yard course.

Bull-pen Pitch

The Bull-pen Pitch helps quarterbacks warm up their arms while also practicing the accuracy of their passes, notes the American Football Coaches Association, creators of "Offensive Football Strategies." Create a target and place it on the playing field. Instruct the quarterback to line up several yards away from the target. Hand the quarterback a football and tell him to throw the football as hard and as fast as he can while trying to hit the target. Encourage quarterbacks to loosen their muscles and concentrate on hitting the target accurately. Consistent use of this warm-up drill will help quarterbacks improve their throwing skills.


Cariocas increase the flexibility of the hips and prepare players to turn quickly as they attempt to catch the ball. Have players line up with their knees flexed and their shoulders facing straight ahead of them. Players move to the left for 20 yards by crossing their right foot over their left foot and then moving the right foot behind the body. Reverse the steps and move in the opposite direction returning to the starting point. Players should remain in position with knees flexed and shoulders forward while they move back and forth. Complete two repetitions before beginning practice.

40-Yard Build-ups

Arthur and Bailey note that 40-Yard Build-ups help players sprint effectively and improve their acceleration. Players line up on the goal line and run down the field for 30 yards. As players advance down the field, they increase their speed. When players reach the 30-yard line, they stride for the next 10 yards. Players walk back to the starting line for another round. Conduct this drill at least twice during the warm-up session.