by Justin Wu, DPT
Why warm up?
Warming up allows the body to be used to and be ready for full speed exercises with decreased chances of injury. In all sports, athletes usually arrive to the athletic facility or event at least an hour prior to start time. They not only utilize this hour to be medically and mentally prepared, but rather they also use it to warm-up. These warm-ups could include specific exercises which would be performed in the athlete’s sport.
You wouldn’t want to drive your vehicle at 60 mph on a cold day when you just start up your engine. You’d want to rev your engine up once you turn it on and drive slowly to “wake” your engine up and then drive fast. By doing this, it would minimize any potential damage to the engine – warming up is the same concept, except the vehicle is your body.
Warm ups could include:
1) Butt Kicks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfCH8LMmLH8
2) High Knees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8opcQdC-V-U
3) Walking lunges: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5BeHfpPWZg
All athletes who are about to perform high intensity games and/or drills should have a warm up dynamic warm-up which can then be followed by a series of stretching. Some important muscle groups to stretch are:
1) Hamstrings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f40HPUX9OxI
3) Calves (gastrocnemius and soleus): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCEBa9MFckI
Warm-ups and stretching should not hurt. Warm-up drills should typically be only 30-50% of intensity (for reference, participating in your sport would be 100%). After warming up and performing stretching, it would eliminate the possibility of causing injury to your body while participating in a sport and/or exercise.
Dr. Wu is a Physical Therapist at Boston Sports Medicine