Tag: warm up

Attention Squash Players: Don’t Warm Up

At least don’t warm up in the typical fashion: No 5 minutes on the elliptical, no just jumping onto the court. If you are playing the Seattle Open Squash Tournament this weekend, prepare yourself for success with Purposeful Movement Preparation. A Purposeful Movement Preparation routine facilitates movement patterns common to squash, namely lunges, shoulder rotation and rotational stability. The emphasis is on perfect movements and drills that offer ample feedback. Let’s compare three warm-up options to better understand the benefit of Purposeful Movement Preparation.

Option 1: 5 minutes of light cardio exercise on a bike, elliptical, treadmill etc. combined with static stretching of any muscles that feel “tight.”

Option 2: 5-10 minutes on the court hitting

Option 3: 5-10 minutes of Purposeful Movement Preparation

No single strategy is perfect, but the advantages of Purposeful Movement Preparation are apparent. 5-10 minutes focusing on performing perfect repetitions of the movements most necessary for squash will overcome stiffness and soreness while allowing you to play to your potential. After this, a few minutes hitting on the court will provide adequate cardiovascular and skill preparation.

Performing your Purposeful Movement Preparation will require that you execute drills that foster perfect movement through patterns like lunges, shoulder rotation and rotational stability. First, focus on attaining mobility through a full range of motion and then work on stability in the legs, hips and shoulders in progressively more challenging postures. To make your Purposeful Movement Preparation most effective, tailor it to primarily address the movements that you find most challenging.

If you would like to create a personalized Purposeful Movement Preparation routine to facilitate your performance, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer at hspencer@sacdt.com. Hunter will also be available during the Seattle Open Tournament on Saturday Jan. 18. He will be leading complimentary group Purposeful Movement Preparation routines and providing complimentary Functional Movement Screens to identify your area of greatest need. More in depth corrective exercise sessions are also available to ensure that you maximize your potential at this tournament.

Common Squash Stretches

Considering some of the common injuries associated with the sport of squash, here are a few to work on as you prepare for the upcoming tournament this weekend.

Hip flexibility – A common side effect to doing 100’s of lunges is tight, overactive glute muscles. An effective stretch for the hip region is the piriformis stretch (Below Left), which targets the internal hip muscles that act as a hammock for the hip and assist larger muscles in movement. This one you may have heard it referred to as thread the needle.

Squash Stretch

Another good hip stretch that will also target lateral hip muscles including the illiotibial band is in a similar position with the leg bent and hugging the knee toward the chest (Above Right).

Shoulder flexibility – Large deltoid muscles can be stretched by bringing the arm across the body with shoulder blade back and down (Below Left).

Squash Stretch

A great stretch for the rotator cuff muscles and smaller stabilizers of the shoulder is the arm wrestle (Above Right). Lying down on your side with elbow level with shoulder height, press your arm down toward the ground.

These just tend to be two regions of the body that become overactive and fatigued from playing squash, but there are many more to address and the body should be treated as a whole.

Run Right!

Sometimes you just need to get a good quick workout in! Practice your form and get your cardio done in 40 minutes!

Power Treadmill workout when you’re in a rush but still want to get better!

3 phases each last 10 minutes. You should push yourself just beyond your limit each time. Repeat this workout multiple times increasing your speed and effort so that you constantly improve! You would be amazed at what even 40 minutes can do to benefit you!

Phase 1:

  • Warm up to a run… The speed of the treadmill is as follows:
    From 4:00 minutes on, increase your speed gradually so that you finish 1 mile in under 10 min total.

Phase 2:

  • Step off the belt and increase your incline to 7%.
  • Increase your speed to 5.5-9.0 mph (gage your fitness level).
  • Sprint on incline for 30 seconds then rest for 30sec-1min continuously for the next 10 minutes. (If over the course of the 10 minutes you start to fade adjust your speed accordingly but don’t give up!)
  • Push yourself and make sure your strides are long and drive off the balls of your feet!

Phase 3:

  • Step off the belt and increase your treadmill to 10% incline.
  • Decrease your speed to 3.6-4.5 (gage your fitness level) and walk on incline for 2 minutes, taking nice long strides.
  • Turn around and back pedal on the treadmill for 1 minute staying on the balls of your feet at a fast walk or light jog.
  • Repeat the walk and back pedal for the next 10 minutes.

Walk for 5 min at 0% incline and 3.0-3.5 mph!

Start Your Workouts with a Dynamic Warm-up

The dynamic warm-up is a crucial part to any strength and conditioning program. Not only does this reduce the risk of injury, it also has been proven to enhance performance by preparing the muscles, tendons and ligaments to be stretched and contracted at optimal rates. Over the last couple of decades the approach to warming up for athletic events has evolved through a better scientific understanding of the human body. Previously, both ballistic and static stretching were the preferred means of warming up. Today we now know that prolonged static stretching can actually increase your chance for injury and hinder performance. This is largely in part due to the decrease in elasticity of the muscles and ligaments that occurs during static stretching. This elasticity is crucial for optimal performance and ensuring the body isn’t overstretched causing pulls, sprains or tears.

So what is a dynamic warm-up and how is it different than a ballistic stretch? Although these may appear to be very similar activities, the key difference can be summed up in one word, control. Ballistic stretches force the limb into an extended range of motion when the muscle has not relaxed enough to enter it. It involves fast “bouncing” movements where a double bounce is performed at the end range of movement. Due to the uncontrolled nature of this type of warm-up, injury to vital muscles and nerves can occur. It is even possible for tissue to be ripped off the bone. A dynamic warm-up may use some of the same exercises as ballistic stretching but with reduction in speed in order for the movements to remain controlled and avoid a protective response by our body known as the Stretch Reflex. Below is an example of a dynamic warm-up.

Part #1 (Pre warm-up)

  • 3-5 minutes of mild-moderate cardio
    Examples: Jump rope, jogging, elliptical, rowing machine.

Part #2 (Dynamic movement)

  • Skipping
    -Emphasis on height not distance
    -Controlled landing
    -Make sure the arms are involved
  • Butt Kickers
    -Emphasis on repetitions not speed
    -Avoid excessive forward lean / keep chest up
    -Make sure you are striking the ground softly with the ball of the foot
  • Lunge W/twist (towards the forward leg)
    -Emphasis on a slow controlled movement
    -Emphasis on achieving greater thoracic (mid back) mobility

    -Control throughout entire range of motion
    -Watch for knees to stay in line of toes
  • High knee pull
    -Emphasis on hip flexors, glutes and calves
    -Avoid momentum while pulling knee back
    -Allow for you entire upper body to pull the knee, not relying on the arms
  • Monster walks (straight leg opposite arm touches toe)
    -Avoid rounding back when reaching for toe
    -Control the upwards faze (don’t try to punt the ball)

These are just a few examples of exercises that might be used in a dynamic warm-up. Ultimately the goal of a dynamic warm-up is to better prepare your body for the activity to which you are about to perform. Many of these exercises can be modified to become more sport specific or to accommodate for injuries. For more information on dynamic warm-ups or how to alter your current warm-up to become more sport specific, please contact Will Paton.

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
  • Crossovers
  • Skips
  • 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.