“There is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down will improve an athlete’s level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before and after training or competition. As a result, the coach must encourage the athlete to regard the warm up and cool down as an essential part of both the training session and competition itself.” I.Y.C.A.
Most people consider the warm up a waste of time.
They would rather jump into the heart of the workout. What they fail to understand is that a good warm up will dramatically reduce your chances of injury and has many other benefits.
The good old days of walking on a treadmill or going for a jog simply doesn’t cut it. This does nothing to improve tissue quality, specific muscle activation, or get you anywhere near the joint positions you’ll be reproducing in your workout.
A proper warm up, begins working on mobility drills especially in your tight or weak areas, to improve your range of movement, alignment and posture. This also results in decreased muscle stiffness, less risk of injury and improved performance.
Moving gradually to a more dynamic exercises increases blood flow to the working muscle which allows you to perform at a higher intensity, which means greater results.
Stretch After your workout
It can be problematic when people confuse warming up with stretching. Both are important for an optimal workout. However, when stretching, you are focusing specifically on stretching your muscles to increase your range of motion. This is always better at the end of your workout when your muscles are warm and won’t be tightened again after, therefore defeating the purpose.
Goals of a warm-up:
Improve tissue quality.
Elite track athletes often get massage immediately before competition. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the same means, so this is where foam rolling can come in. Foam rolling is imperative for mobility and improving tissue quality which will lead to smoother movements.
Increase tissue length.
This is where your basic mobility drills come in and you should focus on your key areas: hip complex, ankle complex etc
Activate specific muscles
Activation drills to improve motor control and get the appropriate muscles firing right before we use them. For example, the glutes or pelvic floor muscles will not do their fair share of the work unless targeted before you train.
To increase tissue temperature.
Improves the extensibility of the tissues and increases excitability of the nervous system. An increase in joint temperature helps to improve lubrication by decreasing the viscosity of synovial fluid. A warm joint when training is a happy joint!
Make time. You only have ONE body. For god’s sake look after it! Seven to eight minutes is normally enough unless you are a beginner, have specific issues or are very tired stiff from your previous workout, and then it should be more.
At Top Coach
We always spend the first eight to ten minutes warming up and that doesn’t include the foam rolling. This is how important we believe it is.
Your body will thank you in the long run!
The Top Coach Team