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Preparing to Perform

The Proper Way to Warm-up

The ultimate goal of a pre-game, practice or training warm-up is to prepare you mentally and physically to perform at the highest level possible. A good warm-up will enhance performance by:

  1. Increasing the temperature of the muscles, giving them the ability to contract more forcefully and recover more quickly. Resulting in increased speed, strength and power.
  2. Increased activation of the nervous system which in turn speeds up nerve impulse traveling to the muscles, allowing for more coordinated and precise movement patterns.
  3. Increased core temperature leading to increased muscle, tendon, and ligament elasticity allowing for greater joint range of motion (ROM) and aiding in the prevention of injuries.
  4. Increased blood temperature which ultimately allows more oxygen to be available to the working muscles.

A proper warm-up should be active and dynamic; unfortunately most warm-ups used by teams today involve a lot of static stretching which is a very passive activity. Static stretching prior to an event does little to increase muscle temperature, neural activation, core temperature, or oxygen supply to the muscles. Static stretching is however very effective as a post event or pre warm-up activity. The warm-up should be as follows:

1) General warm-up: Increases body temperature and efficiency of the cardiovascular and respiratory system.

    1. Light jog, skipping etc.

2) Dynamic ROM:

  1. Front/Back Leg Swings
  2. Side/Side Leg Swings
  3. Front/Back Arm Swings
  4. Cross-body Arm Swings
  5. Arm Circles
  6. Prone Eagles
  7. Supine Eagles
  8. Trunk Rotations

3) Movement Preparation (Active-Dynamic Flexibility):

    1. Knee Hug Lunge
    2. Backwards Lunge With a Twist
    3. Hand Walkouts
    4. Forward Lunge Elbow to Instep
    5. Sumo Squat
    6. Leg Cradle Lunge
    7. Drop Lunge
    8. Lateral Lunge
    9. Stride Lunge (see with Cross-Body Knee-Hug Stride Lunge)
    10. Cross-Body Knee-Hug Stride Lunge
    11. Lunge Trunk Rotation

4) Dynamic Movement:

    1. High Knees
    2. Butt Kickers