How The FIFA 11+ Program Helps You and Your Team Prevent Injuries

We’ve all heard how important it is to warm-up before exercise ⎯ but why?


A good warm-up prepares the body for the movements and situations it is about to encounter. It is meant to get muscles and joints ready to work at their optimal level while ultimately aiming to prevent injury.


Most generic warm-ups tend to include activities like jogging, static stretching and some footwork drills. Some may even incorporate things like dynamic stretching and sprinting, but rarely do they include all of the components necessary for preventing injuries.


The best part about FIFA 11+ is that it combines the most important components of a warm-up and condenses them into a straightforward set of exercises. The program includes aspects of core activation, neuromuscular control/balance, and plyometrics/agility, which all play a huge part in preventing injury.


Core Activation: Our “core” is one of the most important functional units in the body. A stable core allows for the trunk and limbs to function at their optimal level. Without this stability, increased force is put through other joints in the body, leading to potential risk of injury in those areas. Various planking exercises are incorporated into the FIFA 11+ program to ensure core activation.


Neuromuscular control & balance: Neuromuscular control is the muscle’s automatic response when a stimulus is applied to it. For example, if you were to step onto a rock, thinking it was flat ground, the stimulus from the rock sends a message to your brain which then informs your muscles to rebalance your body.


All movements of the body require the correct messaging to be sent to the muscles, in order for purposeful actions to occur. To train this system, the correct movements must be performed repeatedly, allowing “muscle memory” to develop over time. The FIFA 11+ incorporates these balance-training exercises into the program multiple times a week, which helps to gradually develop the athlete’s neuromuscular control.


Plyometrics & Agility:  Many sports involve jumping and quick changes in direction. Therefore, it is important to be able to safely transition from eccentric contractions (muscle lengthening) to concentric contractions (muscle shortening). The goal is to train the muscles to reach maximum strength in a minimum time. Plyometric exercises help train these specific movement patterns and strengthen the muscle/tendon/ligament in a more functional manner.


Since its introduction in 2005, the FIFA 11+ program has seen continuous evidence of its success in reducing injuries. Initial studies showed that the implementation of FIFA 11+ lead to a 30-50% reduction in injuries incurred in soccer (1), and further research has shown a reduced rate of injury across other sports like elite basketball (2).


As far as injury prevention is concerned, the benefits are undeniable. An additional benefit: performance enhancement. The program has been shown to enhance performance by significantly improving neuromuscular control (3) and functional balance (4), along with improving jumping/agility (5).


An increasing number of teams are starting to implement the FIFA 11+ program and are reaping the benefits. To see a layout of the warm-up, check it out here or contact one of our clinics to help get your team started with FIFA 11+.


Stay active—and make sure your warm-ups are effective!


Kelli Chamberlain

Registered Physiotherapist

Allan McGavin Sports Physiotherapy


  1. Bizzini M, Junge A, Dvoras J. 11+ Manual: A complete warm-up programme to prevent injuries. FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre.
  2. Longo UG, Loppini M, Berton A, et al. The FIFA 11+ program is effective in preventing injuries in elite male basketball players: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med 2012;40:996–1005.
  3. Impellizzeri FM, Bizzini M, Dvorak J, et al. Physiological and performance responses to the FIFA 11+ (part 2): a randomised controlled trial on the training effects. J Sports Sci 2013;31:1491–502.
  4. Steffen K, Emery CA, Romiti M, et al. High adherence to a neuromuscular injury prevention programme (FIFA 11+) improves functional balance and reduces injury risk in Canadian youth female football players: a cluster randomised trial. Br J Sports Med 2013;47:794–802.
  5. Reis I, Rebelo A, Krustrup P, et al. Performance enhancement effects of Federation Internationale de Football Association’s “The 11+” injury prevention training program in youth futsal players. Clin J Sport Med 2013;23:318–20.