Should I Warm Up Before Training?

Often we are asked if warming up is important, and what is the correct way to warm up?  Warm-ups are crucial because they get your muscles ready for activity.  Without warming up, you can risk injury as well as not targeting the correct areas during your exercise.  How many times have you tried to squat cold and felt pressure in the knees or hips?  That’s because your muscles are spending that time trying to turn on and the body is loading somewhere else – Not ideal!  A warm-up takes care of that, prevents injury, and makes you feel stronger and faster from the start.  Think of a warm up like the on ramp to a freeway for your car – it allows the car to get up to speed for what is required on the freeway.

A warm up often can also work well with an active rehabilitation program as it is likely that the muscles that we need to get stronger in rehabilitation are the ones we need to ensure we activate during our warm up – Make sense?

How to warm up

A warm up should consist of three parts:

  1. Mobility – Mobility is to ensure that the body is moving functionally and that all of the relative stiffness from our daily postures is relieved.
  2. Activation – Activation work is done to ensure that the right muscles are
    “switching on” to give you the best performance possible during your training
  3. Movement Practice – Movement Practice will correct movement patterns, so think of this part as a rehearsal to get yourself ready for the main event.  The movements involved should closely mimic those required in your activity.  Eg: Deadlifts – try some hinge patterns to make sure that you are bending at the waist, and the already activated gluteal and core muscles are switches on to work in these positions.

How long should a warm up take

Literature is varied in this, and can suggest as little as 5 minutes up to 30 minutes + of warm up.  Unsurprisingly, there is no literature to support not warming up!  A warm up for a brisk walk might mostly consist of a slower walk.  A warm up for a game of footy should involve high intensity movement practice that are required in the game, like directional change, sprinting and jumping (all after activation work).  Powerlifters can warm up for over 30-40 minutes before they start their “warm up sets”.  This is why intensity and time spent warming up is largely dependent on the activity.

So what warm up should I do?

Every warm up should be individualised.  You need to think about what movements should be performed, and what muscles need to be working to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.  Firstly, make sure that you have full range of movement, then complete activation exercises to cover the areas you will need, then perform practice movement.

How can Physio help?

A qualified Physiotherapist can assist you in improving your technique, strength and correcting poor biomechanics.  Do not become a statistic, and remember early detection is the best prevention.  We want you to continue participating in the activities you enjoy as part of a healthy lifestyle.  Are you at risk of injury?  Book an Initial Consultation with one of our qualified Physiotherapists today who can carry out a thorough assessment to determine if you are at risk – BOOK NOW!!!

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