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Want to reduce football injuries? Do the FIFA 11+ program

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Even if you aren't a football fan, you have probably heard of FIFA. But have you ever heard of the FIFA 11+?

What is it?

The FIFA 11+ is an injury prevention program developed by international experts specifically tailored for football players ages 14 or older as a warm-up programme prior to training.

By completing the FIFA 11+ program at least twice a week, ACL injuries in female players aged 13-18 can be substantially reduced by 50%. Evidence has shown that there would also be an overall injury reduction of 39% in recreational/sub-elite football players.

The exercises

The FIFA 11+ program consists of 3 parts - a total of 15 exercises, with each exercise being performed at a specific sequence.

Part 1: Slow running exercises with the addition of active stretching and controlled partner contacts.

  1. Running Straight ahead- Jog together with your partner along the cone, increase the speed progressively as you warm up.

  2. Running Hip out- Slowly jog, stopping at each cone, lift one knee and rotate the leg outwards, ensuring you stay balanced and not letting the hips drop or knees knock in. Alternate legs for each cone.

  3. Running Hip In- Same exercise as above, however, this time rotate the leg inwards, Again, ensure you stay balanced and don’t let the hips drop or knees knock in.

  4. Running Circling partner- Run to the first pair of cones with your partner. Shuffle sideways 90 degrees towards your partner in the middle. Shuffle an entire circle around one another and then return to the cones. Repeat for each cone. Make sure you stay low with your hips and knees bent.

  5. Running Shoulder Contact- Run to the first pair of cones. Shuffle sideways 90 degrees towards your partner (same as above). Jump sideways toward your partner making shoulder to shoulder contact. Make sure you land with both feet, knees and hips are bent. Don’t let your knees buckle

  6. Running Quick Forwards & Backwards- Run quickly towards the 2nd cone then backwards quickly to the 1st cone keeping the hips and knees slightly bent. Keep repeating this, going 2 cones forward and 1 cone backward.

Part 2: 6 sets of exercises to focus on leg strength, core, balance and plyometrics/agility. Each exercise has 3 different levels of increasing difficulty.

  1. Static planking (20-30s holds x3)- keep elbow directly below shoulders keeping stomach in, keeping the body in a straight line from your head to feet. Make sure not to sway or arch your back.

  2. Static sideways planking (20-30s holds x3)- Lift your upper leg and keep your hip and shoulders in a straight line, ensure your core is activated to maintain steady

  3. Hamstrings/Nordic curls (as many in 1min)- With your partner holding on your ankles, from the knees to shoulder forming a straight line, slowly lean forward controlling the movement with the hamstrings and glutes.

  4. Single leg stance with ball control (30s x2)- Standing on 1 leg while moving the ball around the body. Don’t let your knees buckle

  5. Squats with toe raise (30s x2)- Keep your feet hip-width apart, as you squat raise your toe off the ground, and down don’t let the knees buckle or turn outwards. Slowly descend followed by a quick straighten.

  6. Vertical jumps (30s x2)- Slowly bend your knees performing a squat, then followed by jumping as high as you can. Land softly on the balls of your feet with your hips and knees slightly bent

Part 3: Running exercises at high/moderate speed with a combination of planting and cutting movements.

  1. Running across pitch (40m x2)- Run across the field at a 75-85% maximum pace

  2. Bounding across pitch (40m x2)- run with a high bound with high knee lifts. gentling landing on your feet. exaggerate large swings for each step

  3. Plant & Cut across pitch (40m x2)- Jog 4-5 steps the quickly plant outside leg firmly to cut and change direction. accelerate and sprint 4-5 steps at 80-90% maximum effort, then slow down to change direction.

But wait, there's more

Recent studies have shown that the FIFA 11+ program not only reduces injury rate but also improves performance. One study showed that participants 9 weeks into the FIFA 11+ training had significantly better neuromuscular control, hamstring/quad strength ratio, improved static/dynamic balance and increased jumping and agility skills.

How can a physio help

At Breathe, our physiotherapists are trained to assess each individual's unique biomechanics and how they move. We can correct and guide players through key techniques, form and posture in the FIFA 11+ program for optimal training outcome.

Interested to know more? Get in touch with us!

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