Warm up exercises

Elvis Elvis

Pre-Run Exercises

Warm up exercises are a vital part of any training routine, without a warm up routine you significantly increase the probability of muscle, tendon or ligament damage.

What The Experts Say ..

Above all take it easy, you are merely trying to condition your body by building up slowly prior to the start of the event.

A properly designed warm-up schedule before a race or training run should have the following three structured phases:

Phase I – Aerobic:
This mainly include easy exercises such as jogging or skipping for about 5-10 minutes, in order to raise the body temperature.

Warm up exercises

Phase II – Stretching:
Dynamic or static stretches can be done to stretch all of the major muscles. While dynamic stretches involve stretching movements at a gradually increased speed, the static stretches involve placing a muscle in its most lengthened position and holding for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Phase III – Sport-specific exercises:
Exercises specific to your sport should be carried out, such as short sprints, shuttle runs etc.

The aim of the first phase is to raise the heart rate, which implies an increase in the speed of delivery of oxygen to muscles and a raise in temperature of the body. Meanwhile, the second phase is aimed at enhancing mobility and elasticity in the muscles. Lastly, the third phase aims at exercising the specific neuromuscular mechanisms related to the specific sports activity.

Warming Up – Importance

Warming-up prevents a rapid increase in blood pressure, improves blood flow to the heart, increases muscle temperature and makes muscles more pliable.

Overall, warming up prepares the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system and the musculoskeletal system for the forthcoming physical activity.

Here we briefly discuss the specific different aims, purposes and benefits of a warming-up schedule.

A) Enhances performance: The main purpose of a warm-up schedule is to increase the blood circulation in order to raise the body temperature along with the deep muscle temperature. This further heats up the muscles, ligaments and tendons, leading to an overall increase in performance levels.

B) Reduces risk of injury: Owing to the elevated temperatures, the risk of a sports injury gets considerably minimized. The muscles become loose and supple, thereby reducing the risk of muscle-pulls.

C) Physiological benefits: A proper warm up schedule enables oxygen in the blood to travel with greater speed and also leads to an increased production of synovial fluid located between the joints to reduce friction. In addition, the increased temperatures enable faster enzyme activity. With adequate warming up, you also experience an increase in the rate of muscle metabolism. Performers become more alert due to the increase in speed of nerve impulse conduction.

D) Earlier onset of sweating: Warming up leads to an early onset of seating, encouraging evaporative heat loss, which further leads to a decrease in the amount of heat stored by the body.

E) Effect on the cardiovascular system: A warm up activity ensures that the heart and blood vessels get enough time to adjust to the body’s increase requirements for blood and oxygen.

The Exercises

Here are a few of the more common warm up exercises:

i) Head Circles: Starting with your ear, near the shoulder on one side, rotate your head around to the front, ending with your ear near the shoulder on the other side. Once done, roll your head back to the other side. Repeat the whole process five to 10 times.

ii) Arm Circles: With one arm at a time, make a backward circle arm circle. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each arm. After this, make similar forward arm circles and repeat 10 to 15 times.

iii) Hip Stretch: Standing straight, take a half step back with your right foot. Bend your left knee and shift your weight back to the right hip. Bend forward more and reach farther down your right leg, keeping it straight. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with other side.

iv) Quadricep Stretch: Stand straight and hold on to a wall. Bend the right knee behind to grasp your foot, holding your heel against your buttock. Stand erect and push your knee gently backwards, as far as you can. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then change sides.

v) Leg extensions: With your face towards a support, hold on with both hands. Bend the knee, bring one leg forward and then extend and swing that leg back and behind. Repeat 10 to 15 times and switch legs.