Posted on May 10 2018
I'm sure you have all heard “you must warm up” before training or competitions, but has anyone ever explained to you why it's so important?
If were all aware of the importance of warming up, why are 80% of people I see around gyms and sports skipping it or wasting time attempting to. Are we as trainers not doing our best to educate on the warm up and focusing too much of the main efforts? Is time an issue and it’s ‘easy’ to skip? Or don’t feel tightness or pain so you don’t think you need to?
I personally believe it is a case of many factors and I want to discuss briefly the importance of warming up, rules of warming up and tips to an effective warm up so hopefully you will make it apart of your routine.
WHAT are you trying to achieve by warming up:
- Mental Readiness
- Physical Readiness
- Injury Prevention
- Performance Enhancement
Have you heard of the RAMP warm up? For most athletes I recommend making the acronym - RRAMP warm up:
- Release: This includes self-myofascial work/ foam roller (SMR)
- Raise: Body temperature, heart rate, respiration, blood flow, and joint viscosity.
- Activate and mobilise: to activate key muscle groups and mobilise key joints and ranges of motion used in exercise or sport.
- Potentiate: Potentiate means to improve performance. Increasing intensity to where activities can be performed at a maximal level.
HOW does that look:
- Release: SMR 3-5min full body.
- Raise: Low intensity, multi directional movements or dynamic ranges of motion exercises corresponding to you session ahead in combination with low intensity cardio. For example: movement technique exercises such as squat and lunge variations or sprint technique with a light jog or cycle back.
- Activate and mobilise: Could include, mini band glute activation, balance and stability exercises, core activation and spinal mobility exercises. Be workout or sport specific and individual to your needs eg, shoulder prehab/rotator cuff exercises.
- Potentiate: The aim of this is to ‘prime’ before workout/ training session or competition. For example: Low volume high intensity sprint efforts, plyometrics, reactive agility drills.
- Going back to mental readiness and connecting your mind into your body’s movements for what your about to do is crucial to performance. If your training heavy squats or in sports training/ competition the mind has to be switched on. When performing RRAMP warm up this is the perfect opportunity to do so. You would have chosen sport or exercise specific movements where you can add your visualise and breathing, removing distractions and ensuring a positive and focused mindset.
- Set your own warm up plan and identify key areas you need to tick off.
- Ensure your plan is individual and specific to what your training. Eg, your heavy gym strength session warm up will be different to a sports specific warm up.
- Listen to your body regardless of your plan, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your structured warm up to put more time into specific areas that feel tight or unstable.
- Although static stretching isn’t included into your warm up doesn’t mean you avoid them it just means they are best used post workout.
The key to a successful workout is to warm up, activate your muscles and connect your mind with the movement of the muscle - making sure you can feel it whilst you are doing the exercises. Correct movement = faster results.
If you need help, all KP Performance programs include warm up and cool down options and guidelines tailored to you and your abilities, get in touch today!