Rethinking the Warm-Up
Before any training session, workout, or any sort of exercise; it is imperative to have a proper warm-up before beginning. A proper warm-up should be structured, well thought out and developed. We are not talking about static stretches, where you stretch a number of muscle groups for an amount of time, call it good then proceed to your workout.
If you look at the purpose of a warm-up, it should prepare the body for functional movements and activity. Prepare the body by…
- Increasing core body temperature
- Elevating heart rate
- Sending signals to the muscular skeletal system
- Turning on the nervous system
- Improving muscular flexibility and joint mobility
- Decreasing the chances for injury
The structure should be properly organized as well. When organizing a warm-up, it should be divided into 3 segments.
- Soft Tissue Work – This is your foam/ lacrosse ball rolling session, where you would spend some time rolling out muscle groups you are going to target. Purpose is to improve tissue quality, improve blood circulation, and decrease muscle soreness.
- Mobility/ Correctives- This part of the warm-up should address mobility work to correct any limitations of the individual or areas most affected/limited within the general population (Hips, T-spine, Shoulders or ankles).
- Dynamic Movement/ Stretching- This portion of the warm-up is were multiple joint motions are incorporated to synchronize movements that maybe done during the workout.
It is important to incorporate these into the Dynamic portion as well …
- Rehearsal Movements: movements that mimic a specific exercise or main lift.
- Plane Movements: incorporate movements that are done in all planes of motion (Sagittal, Transverse, and Frontal), not focusing on one.
- Neural Muscular and Muscle activation: Sending action potentials (signals) to the muscles that need to be used, and sending quick responses to active muscles through the nervous system by using quick repetitive/ ballistic movements.
A warm-up will dictate the performance during a training session. It should prepare the body for optimal performance, while decreasing chances of injury. It is an integrated approach to prepare the athlete physically and mentally for the demands of training and competition through a progressive and specific prep period.