“WINTER IS COMING."
Actually, it feels like its already here!
You rock up to the box, rugged up from head to toe and your coach announces that its time to WARM UP! What does that even really mean? You’re already warm right? Beanie, scarf, hoodie, track pants….
Here’s a break down on why we really warm up and how to do it correctly!
What is a Warm Up?
A warm-up is defined as a period of preparatory exercise thought to prepare the body physically and psychologically for exercise, improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
The evidence from a recent systematic review of studies looking at how warm-ups affect physical activity found it in favour of improving performance. 79% of these studies showed an improvement in aerobic and anaerobic activities as well as agility, power and actual sporting skill. (Fradkin, Zazryn, & Smoliga, 2010)
No surprises there!
So What Makes a Good Warm-Up?
As with most things, there is no optimal, “one-size-fits-all” approach but the general goal is to gradually increase heart rate, body temperature, muscle and tendon suppleness and enhance neuromuscular connections to engage in co-ordinated movement.
A typical warm up needs to include the following
1) Low intensity aerobic exercise (such as a simple jog or row where you are still able to hold a conversation)
2) Dynamic stretches of the muscles and joints that you will be using in the Training session.
3) Specific Muscle Activation and Accessory Drills. For example, with squats think gluteus maximus, medius, adductors, hamstrings, pelvic floor and back extensors. We need drills to switch on each and every one of these muscles
4) Reptition of the above. We need to reinforce this activation
5) Pylometric drills or Sports specfic movements. For example for cleans we might look at incorporating jumping squats for distance. To open our hips in an explosive manner now that our muscles are firing.
6) Specific Drills for your Own Body and Weaknesses. Say you've got left sided issues, then additional left muscle activation drills might be necessary to even the imbalance of activation prior to starting
A warm up is also a good way for you to communicate to your coaches if you are struggling with any movements or have any niggles. Scaling options can usually be discussed here so that the rest of your Training Session runs smoothly and efficiently.
So while many of us might think that being sent out on a jog or doing silly animal crawls to start the session may be a clever way for our coaches to get an extra 5 minutes to down a short black, remember, there is some method to the madness!
You might just simply say that the trouble with the warm up is that its just plain boring (unless your coach is a gun and can make it fun!), it can really make or break the rest of your WOD. If done well, you’re keeping your body safe from injury AND you might even get that PB you’ve been chasing!
Jac comes from an experienced background in Sports Physio over many years working in London and Melbourne through private practice. She has a wicked eye for Analyzing Movement and Biomechanics. Jac Currently assistant coaches as CrossFit Trainer at CrossFit U in West Melbourne and works out of our South Yarra clinic at GW Performance on Mondays and Thursdays, Kew and Tuesdays. Bookings with Jac can be made here