The Fundamental Importance of Warming Up
Posted on 27th September 2021 at 14:28
In the 80s and 90s it was accepted that a good warm-up before exercise was essential. More recently, it’s been said by fitness trainers that the warm-up isn’t important, with some people even saying that warming up can have a negative effect on performance. So, what’s going on, and who’s right?
Research Shows It’s Very Important To Warm Up!
There is some evidence to suggest that performing static stretching before resistance-based exercise can cause a significant reduction in force output (Holt and Lambourne 2008).
However, there is plenty of research to support the use of dynamic movements as a warm-up, and more static stretches and movements as a recovery method. The goal and purpose of performing a sufficient and sport specific warm up is to prepare, mobilise, and activate the working muscles (Evetovich, Conley, and McCawley 2015).
The notion of potentiating the working muscles during a warmup follows the RAMP protocol as highlighted by Jeffreys (2007, 2017). This can result in an increase in power and strength capabilities, rate of force development, heightened motor control, muscle fibre recruitment and enhanced metabolic reactions (Enoka 2002, Hoffman 2002).
As such, warm-up routines incorporating plyometric exercises have previously been shown to greatly increase strength, sprint times, and power outputs during athletic activities. Traditional warmups using Speed and Agility (SAQ) drills do not require a high level of force production, therefore are less effective at preparing the athletes for activity.
Alternatively, the inclusion of equipment can elicit a better warm response. A study conducted by Buttifant and Hrysomallis (2015) observed the use and incorporation of resistance bands into a warm protocol with dynamic mobility and sports/activity specific exercises. Their results showed an increase in motor recruitment levels by up to 20%, power outputs by up to 14% and jump height by 3%. This data illustrates that a 5-minute warm up protocol using resistance bands can be just as effective as one that involves equipment that is less portable, more expensive, and less practical for event or competition scenarios.
Taking 5 minutes out of the total activity time to perform a basic and semi relatable warm up protocol, with the incorporation of an inexpensive piece of equipment, can elicit an injury preventive and preparatory response whilst improving athletic performance.
We believe that warm-ups are important. If you’d like advice on which warm-up exercises to do for your specific activity or sport, please get in touch.
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