Warming up for sport is important. It prepares you for the movements you intend to undertake, getting you ready to perform to your best from the offset. Exercise warm ups are intended to safely get us ready for sport and reduce the risk of injury.
Next time you’re warming up think of the following:
The movements of your sport: You want to replicate them in your warm up but at a lower intensity and building them in gradually. i.e. if your sport is weightlifting, you would begin with half squats, repeating several times and gradually increase the depth of the squat until you reach full squatting position.
Dynamic stretching: Your warm-up should include movements which will gradually stretch your muscles. The walking lunge is an example, starting with small lunges, repeating several times before increasing the stride length of your lunge. Static stretches where you hold a muscle in position should be avoided during the warm-up as these have been linked to injury.
Increase heart rate gradually: Start with gentle exercises which get the big muscles of the body going such as jogging. Then begin skipping or some gentle high knees exercises. Follow this by increasing the speed of each previous exercise. This will increase your heart rate steadily and safely.
Give your muscles time to warm up: Avoid trying to squeeze all your warm-up exercises into a 5 minute timeframe especially if you are going to engage in high intensity exercise. A typical football warm-up can take anywhere between 20 and 40mins.
Correct clothing: Make sure it’s flexible enough to allow you to perform all the actions you need without restriction. Make sure it’s warm or cool enough suitable for the conditions you will be in.