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Warm up activities are an essential part of any exercise routine or sports training to prevent sports injury.
Benefits of warming up prior to any physical activity are that it prepares the body and mind for more strenuous activity by:
- increasing the body's core temperature
- increasing the body's muscle temperature. This helps to make the muscles loose, supple and pliable
- increasing both your heart rate and your respiratory rate. This increases blood flow, which in turn increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles
- All of the above helps to prepare the muscles, tendons and joints for more strenuous activity.
The warm up starts with the easiest and most gentle activity first, building upon each part with more energetic activities, until the body is at a physical and mental peak. This is the state in which the body is most prepared for the physical activity to come, and where the likelihood of sports injury has been minimized as much as possible.
Essential warm up and cool down for ALL speed sessions and races:
1) Light warm up jog 15 mins. To elevate the heart rate and respiratory rate, increase blood flow and muscle temperature.
2) Static stretching 5 mins. To lengthen major muscle groups and associated soft tissues. Hold @ stretch 15secs.
3) Drills and Strides 5 mins. To prepare for specific form and speed demands of running. Drills i.e. knee hugs, pull ups knee out to side, mack 1’s, pitter patters, and strides 3-5 x 60m from 70-90% max speed.
4) Cool down easy jog 15mins after session & Static stretching 5-15mins
5) Self massage tight areas pre & post sessions - with oil, tiger balm, foam roller, tennis ball.
The correct warm before core / strength sessions is much shorter and simpler:
1. Light warm up cardio at least mins. To elevate the heart rate and respiratory rate, increase blood flow and muscle temperature.
2. Static stretching 5 mins.
3. Gradually warm up into any of the more intense strength exercises.
Details on the parts of the warm up:
1.) General warm up
Consists of light physical activity. The intensity and duration of the warm up (or how hard and how long), depends on the fitness level. The average person should take about five to ten minutes and result in a light sweat.
The aim is to elevate the heart rate and respiratory rate, which increases the blood flow and helps with the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. This also helps to increase the muscle temperature, allowing for a more effective static stretch.
2.) Static stretching
This second part of an effective warm up is extremely important, as it helps to lengthen both the muscles and tendons which in turn allows your limbs a greater range of movement. This is very important in the prevention of muscle and tendon injuries.
The proper completion of parts one and two allow for the more specific and vigorous activities necessary for parts three and four.
3.) Sport specific warm up
In this part, the athlete is specifically preparing their body for the demands of the running speed session or race by utilizing running drills. i.e. Mack 1's, 2's and 3's, pitter patters, high knees, butt kicks.
4.) Dynamic stretching
Follow instruction from a professional coach or trainer as this form of stretching carries a high risk of injury if used incorrectly. Dynamic stretching is more for muscular conditioning than flexibility and is really only suited for professional, well trained, highly conditioned athletes. Dynamic stretching involves a controlled, soft bounce or swinging motion to force a particular body part past its usual range of movement. The force of the bounce or swing is gradually increased but should never become radical or uncontrolled.
Once you have completed your warm up your body and mind will be at its peak for the running speed session or race ahead. Go for it!