Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Warm up to Train at Your Peak

Everyone is aware of the importance of warming up to improve performance and prevent injury. There is good reason for this practice, because scientists have shown that warm muscles are flexible, resistant to tearing and can produce force more quickly.

One of the major problems facing today’s athletes is muscular injury, both recreational and professional. A well-formed warm up will prepare the athlete mentally and physically for the intense movement associated with training or competition.

Some benefits of a good warm up include:
  • Increased muscle temperature 
  • Increased body temperature and blood flow 
  • Reduction of muscle soreness and joint stiffness 
  • Improves range of motion (ROM) 
  • Promotes body relaxation and reduces emotional stress 
Some athletes advocate an efficient warm up while others believe it only tires you out and affects overall performance. Warm ups can tire you out if done improperly, try not to overdo it; a moderate 10 minute warm up is ideal and anything beyond that tends to be counter-productive.

Some excellent warm up exercises are the tried and true:
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Skipping
  • Walking Quad Stretch
  • Squats
A proper warm up can provide you with the needed flexibility to perform consistently from the beginning to the end of your competition and can reduce the chances of injury.  Remember to incorporate a few minutes to warm up at the start of your routine because this simple addition can make you a winner!

References from the SIRC Collection

1, ACL INJURY PREVENTION IN THE FEMALE ATHLETE: 3-STEP WARM-UP PROGRAM. Performance Conditioning Soccer [serial online]. February 2012;17(1):12-13.
2. A WARM WARM-UP. Journal Of Pure Power [serial online]. April 2007;2(2):11-13. 
3. Jee Won S. Do You Stretch Right?. Soccer Journal [serial online]. March 2011;56(2):62.
4. Swanson J. A Functional Approach to Warm-up and Flexibility. Strength & Conditioning Journal (Allen Press) [serial online].
5. Woods K, Bishop P, Jones E. Warm-Up and Stretching in the Prevention of Muscular Injury. Sports Medicine [serial online]. September 2007;37(12):1089-1099.

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