Wednesday, January 4, 2012

All About warming up


Warming up is fun, right?
Stand up touch your toes, swing your arms around a few times and you are ready to run your marathon, or max out on bench press, right?  

Warming up is important for improved workouts, strength, and flexibility. Warming up can also help to prevent stiffness and injuries. 
"While age-related connective tissue changes and water loss can contribute to inflexibility, most of it comes down to “use it or lose it.” A proper warm-up helps to counteract negative effects of aging while enhancing performance. 

Not warming up can lead to poor mobility/flexibility, injuries and stiffness. These are the people at the senior center, on a basketball court or at the family reunion who can't move, pick up kids, play sports, exercise to their full capacity, or clean up spilled hemp seeds."

We now understand that warming up is important, but how do we do it properly?

A proper warm-up consists of movements that: 
  • Move joints through their ranges of motion (ROM) — and enhance this ROM
  • Enhance mobility
  • Release connective tissue bonds
  • Distribute fluid in the joint space
  • Boost speed/force of muscle contractions
  • Amplify nerve impulse transmission
  • Promote oxygen uptake

Here are some basic movements:
  • Movements intended to get the core temperature up and the whole body moving, e.g. brisk walking or light jogging while swinging the arms
  • Static movements (moving into a position and briefly holding it) — the classic “stretch and hold”, e.g. touching your toes for 30 seconds.
  • Dynamic movements such as:                                                                                                                           *stretching while moving (e.g. walking lunges for hip flexibility, or tipping your head side to side for neck mobility)                                                                                                                                      *moving against light resistance (e.g. a few single-legged Romanian dead lifts with light or no weight, or jumping)

     More Details:   
  • Static Exercises                                                                                                                                      These are your classic "stretch and hold" types, toe touches and what not. These have gotten a bad rap lately in the fitness community. There are both advantages as well as disadvantages to warming up with static stretches.                                                                                                                                       * Static stretching can improve flexibility at a given range of motion. It can also improve balance — a bonus for yogis and gymnasts.                                                                                                          *However, static stretching can create a temporary strength deficit, diminish jump performance and decrease running economy for up to 1 hour, since the sensitivity of tension receptors in muscle is decreased.  (Think of stretching a rubber band to its max then trying to load it... won't hold very much)                                                                                                                 This can be used as an advantage by a trainer, or coach by stretching a muscle group that is normally too tight in order to "coach" the body into using the proper muscle group. (ie: hip flexor stretch before running or squatting to "turn off" the hip flexors and "turn on" the glutes. Pretty cool hu?                                                                                                                    
  • Dynamic Exercises                                                                                                                                  These, as their name suggests, are exercises that require movement. (Walking lunges, mountain climbers, etc...)                                                                                                                                                          *A dynamic warm-up can improve nervous system activation, power, and range of motion at the joint. Dynamic exercises performed before exercise/sport that requires high muscular forces can increase blood flow, metabolic activity, temperature, oxygen uptake, muscle compliance, nerve impulses, decrease resistance of connective tissues and reduce muscle tension. This type of warm-up creates minimal (to no) muscle damage, so it’s fine to do on a regular basis.  When you have mobile soft tissue and a rapid response nervous system, you’ll be able to move better and perform exercises that challenge your body. This means more productive workouts and a healthier physique.
  • Foam Rolling                                                                                                                                            Basically just sit or lie with a specific muscle group on the roller (ie glutes, quads, back) roll slowly back and forth focusing on sore areas.                                                                                                             *Foam rolling can be included as part of a warm-up since it helps with mobility and breaks down scar tissue/adhesions. This relaxes the fascia and makes muscle more pliable. Foam rolling feels like deep tissue massage, so it can be a bit painful, but you walk away feeling lose and ready to work.
                                     
In all this information I have not given you a good basic warm up... so here are a few warm ups that I love and use on a regular basis.

Planks:2 sets
  • Front (30 Seconds)
  • Both Sides (30 seconds each side)
Medicine Ball Throws (2 sets)
There is something therapeutic about throwing a ball as hard as you can off a wall, and knowing that if you don't catch it it's going to bounce back at your face...
  • Chest Pass
  • Over Head Slam
  • Side Throw (off each hip)
  • Side Facing Throw (off each hip) 

Dynamic Exercises (there are too many to list...)
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Clean and Press
  • Box Jumps
  • Walking Lunges
  • Push Ups
  • Low Jump Backs
  • Light Jog

In review:
         *Warming up is important. It improves the quality of your workout, by getting muscles ready to work.
         *There are several different types of warm ups (I have listed only a few)
         *Stretching (toe touches) lengthens muscle making them less ready to bear heavy loads
         *Dynamic warm ups, literally warm the muscles (by getting blood pumping) and thus help to increase                  the value of your workout.
         *Foam rolling is amazing


1 comment:

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