Do you respect your warm up?
Did you know that one of the most common causes of injury is previous injury? How much attention are you currently paying to effectively warming up before working out or playing sport? At Fitness Warehouse we definitely recommend dynamic movement prep exercises like hip extensions, active hamstring stretches and band walking for glute activation before larger movements. We also love throwing in some cross patterning like bird dogs to switch on the left and right side of the brain.
Be sure to replicate some of the movements you’ll be doing in your workout. As always if you don’t know how to do an exercise or warm up, find an awesome trainer like Sean Baker from PEAQ Conditioning Coaching. We asked Sean about how he warms up his athletes before training sessions.
Sean – Warming up seems like one of those areas of fitness that is constantly evolving. How much time do you dedicate to warming up with your athletes?
When it comes to coaching someone through a warm up, personally I will adjust the duration based on the following 3 factors -
1) Nature and intensity of the session that is about to be undertaken.
2) The ability of the individual/team I am working with.
3) The time constraints that we have to adhere to.
As a rule of thumb, a warm up will last for somewhere between 10-20mins. For a gym session, generally that will be closer to the 10min mark and will include some dynamic mobility, followed by lifting specific movement patterns (depending on which exercises you are undertaking for that session). For a conditioning/skills session, this will be a bit more towards the 20min mark and will include a gradual build in intensity (walking, to jogging, to striding, to sprinting), followed by a progressive build up in the length/complexity/intensity of skills drills.
Warming up used to be a cheeky jog around the footy field or netball court, what are the pitfalls or risks of just ‘going for a run’ before a training session or game?
The pitfall of just a cheeky jog for a Warm Up, is that you don’t actually prepare your body for the physical demands that it is about to experience on the Court/Field. When you put any type of ball out in front of an Athlete, chances are they are going to forget about everything else that they have done prior to that moment… and will sprint at 100% to gain possession. If you haven’t warmed up your body appropriately, you are increasing your chances of getting injured! The warm up is possibly one of the most frequently and universally misused periods of time for Athletes and General Trainers. This is because many people will go through the motions and perform the same exercises week in and week out. This 10-20mins each session should be treated like an extended part of your training and can be used to improve yourself in a Long Term Athletic Development sense. Just imagine how much impact that could have on your performance and injury prevention, if you were to gain an extra 10mins of benefit, 2-3 times per week, 52 weeks of the year!!
Is a good warm up also a form of mental preparation? If so what kind of mental preparation do you encourage to include in a warm up?
There is so much that we just don’t understand and have not unlocked when it comes to mentally preparing for training and games. Whether it is a placebo, or whether it is because our brain can be warmed up like our skeletal muscles… a proper warm up can certainly be used to give you a mental edge on the competition. Whether it is in the form of visualisation (imagining exactly what it is you are going to do during that session/game) or some reactive agility drills (drills in which you have to react quickly to an external cue and make some form of decision/movement based on the cue), preparing for training/competition can be a significant benefit from a psychological perspective.
Can you warm up too early?
Warming up to early can certainly be as much of an issue as not doing enough warm up. There can be issues with physical and psychological fatigue, if you are doing too much before your session. Your warm up benefits can also be diminished if you go through your warm up routine and then stand around/sit down for 10-15mins before any training/competing is actually completed.
About Sean: Sean Baker has a Bachelor of Applied Human Movement and Health Sciences and a Masters of Exercise Science/Strength and Conditioning. Sean currently owns and operates PEAQ Conditioning Coaching located in Port Adelaide. For more information and to train with PEAQ visit their website here.