I once worked with a coach who asked me this in argument against the use of a proper warm up before training. Watching BBC Ones Dynasties over the weekend gave me the idea for this blog article to confirm the reasoning behind an in-depth and correct warm up and why we should be doing them and what I think is one of the most overlooked aspects of using time to warm up.
Why We Should Warm Up?
Warm ups are an essential part of any workout. Not only do they prepare you physically for what you are about to do they also prepare you mentally.
Benefits of Warming Up
It significantly reduces the chance of injury.
- It allows the temperature of the muscles to increase, improving muscle function and elasticity. Blood temperature will also rise.
- Blood vessels will dilate (expand) allowing more blood flow to working muscles and organs.
- Your range of motion can increase, this can be done with general movement but also as is the case with our PT clients we have specific stretches and releases individual to the client that will be performed in order to improve their performance during the workout.
- Your body increases its production of various hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine, which are responsible for regulating energy production.
- Faster muscle contraction and relaxation of both agonist and antagonist muscles
- Improvements in the rate of force development
- Improvements in reaction time
- Improvements in muscle strength and power
- Lowered viscous resistance in muscles
- Improved oxygen delivery due to the Bohr effect where higher temperatures facilitate oxygen release from haemoglobin and myoglobin
- Increased blood flow to active muscles
- Enhanced metabolic reactions
The warm-up is also a good time to mentally prepare for an event by clearing the mind, increasing focus on what needs to be done, and reviewing skills and strategy.
A Simple Warm Up Protocol
The R.A.M.P protocol developed by Dr. Jeffreys is a good, easy and efficient way of making sure you get a full warm up in.
R – Raise (pulse)
A – Activate
M – Mobilise
P – Potentiate
Raising your pulse aids all the things we spoke about earlier: Body temperature, Heart rate, Respiration rate, Blood flow, Joint viscosity.
Exercises such as:
In this section we want to activate specific muscle groups – exercises such as:
Here we want to mobilise key joints and movements specific to what will be coming up in the session:
Here we want to “prime” ourselves for the training session up next. This phase of the warm-up is fixated on exercises which will directly lead to performance improvements in following activities. These will include higher intensity exercises specifically related to what will occur during the session. For example in a class it may feature higher heart rate exercises or exercises that will come up in the class or for a PT session it should include some warm up sets with a lighter weight and rep range of the exercises in the session.
Time Well Spent
One of the most important aspects of getting in a good warm up can often be overlooked. Those minutes spent warming up add up.
Lets say you workout three times a week… If you spend 10 minutes each time before you train working on correcting a postural issue for example, that adds up to:
30 minutes a week.
2 hours a month
26 hours a year.
That is just 10 minutes every three days. Imagine if you train 5-6 times a week. Thats a serious amount of time that could be spent improving your performance. So next time you think about skipping over a warm up – think about all that lost time!
I hope you can use this information over the holidays if doing your own home workouts!