Is your warm-up really warming you up?
Have you had to miss a workout due to an injury? Are you one of those people that don’t really warm-up before training or competition? Your warm-up or lack there of, could be the root of the problem.
Warming up is usually the first to go when an athlete or client is short on workout time and when I do hear of a warm-up it usually consists of sitting on an upright bike followed by static stretching. Most individual and team sports have updated their workout routines but many have continued to keep the outdated warm-up method of a linear jog combined with some static stretching on the field followed by a few drills before competition or practice. This “typical” warm-up does not adequately prepare athletes for the demands placed upon them in the session. Most injuries that occur at the beginning of a competition or training session are largely due to inadequate preparation for the activity. It is time for you to switch to a full body dynamic warm-up. A solid dynamic warm-up will help your muscles prepare for a workout, reduce your risk of injury, and increase your heart rate. The dynamic warm-up coordinates all of your moving parts- muscles, ligaments, and joints by challenging your flexibility, mobility, strength and stability all at once. Static stretching alone will not prepare the muscle and connective tissue for the active contraction and relaxation process that will occur during a dynamic sport or training session.
The Goals of a Dynamic Warm-up:
- Increase core temperature.
- Increase heart rate and blood flow to skeletal tissue which improves the efficiency of oxygen uptake and transport, as well as waist removal.
- Increase activation of the central nervous system, which increases co-ordination, skill accuracy and reaction time.
- Increase the elasticity of muscles and connective tissue, which results in fewer injuries.
- Open up and lubricate your joints such as in the hips and spine.
- Reinforce great posture.
This injury prevention warm-up can be used by athletes before they compete in any dynamic sport or even be used as a warm-up for your clients before they start a training session. The “typical” jog or spin on the bike is replaced with a more dynamic series of running drills or exercises that include multiple planes of movement to ensure a complete warm-up is achieved. Static stretching can improve joint range of motion and muscular relaxation and will help with recovery by assisting in waist removal. However, I personally choose to apply it during the cool down or after competition is finished. I believe the warm-up should have the athlete physically and mentally prepared to perform the dynamic actions of the activity at maximal intensity if required.
Examples of Dynamic Exercises:
- Running Forward
- Running Backwards
- High Knee drills
- Butt Kickers
- Side Shuffle
- Lunges with rotation
This active warm-up can take between 5 to 10 minutes. The key is to make the dynamic portion of the warm-up progressive and ensure the body is taken through the same ranges of motion that will be required in their training or game situation. Contact any of the personal trainers at the Seattle Athletic club to put together a warm-up routine that will help keep you injury free this year. For more information on developing your workouts to include a proper warm-up, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Jason Anderson.