Once we would warm-up like these guys! We now know better.
Follow Physiologic’s top 6 tips for the perfect warm-up;
1. Don’t foam roll
This sounds like the exact opposite of what we have been told for the last millennium BUT foam rolling and trigger ball / self massage techniques generally place our muscles in a state of relaxation. For some pain based problems this may be of benefit BUT if we are about to participate in exercise one of the last things you want is a state of relaxation – more so we should be after a state of physical readiness both physically and mentally. Instead of foam rolling to warm up – try it for warming down or just before you ago to bed at night – like a massage you should feel the serotonin flow more readily and calm you rather than amp you up.
2. Avoid static stretching
Bending forward to stretch your back and hamstrings and holding it for 20 secs is not the way our body behaves during exercise. As such there is no real reason to do this when preparing for exercise.
3. Dynamic warm up is best
Movement, mobility work, light resistance and moving your joints / muscles in a way that would reflect what you are about to do is best. Eg. if you are a golfer – you should be working on rotation movements. For a weight lifter you could performing a set of reps at 30-40% of normal load prior to lifting OR if you are preparing for surfing – dynamics squats and single legged landing type movements. Even yoga type exercises that allow your body to mobilise through different positions is often relevant to many types of exercise.
4. Progressively build the intensity
Try to work up a light sweat. Start easy and build the range of movement for your limbs, the speed of movement and the load on each muscle. If you do it right you should feel the transition into your chosen exercise is simple and non stressful.
5. Routine your warm up
Personally I hate trying to think about a warm up routine when I go training. It makes training less enjoyable. It’s much easier to know the same routine off by heart and pump it out at will – then you can move through it without thinking and enjoy the rest of your training / exercise.
6. Keep it short
Currently there is no evidence to say that a longer warm up is more beneficial than a shorter one. It seems to be more related to the way you do it rather than the time it takes. My advice is to keep it short but build it up quickly. Short warm ups mean your overall exercise time doesn’t have to be too long – in this day and age time is critical and if you are anything like us at Physiologic its not always easy to fit the time in for fitness etc.
by Josh Meyer, Principal Physiotherapist B.Ex.Sc.M.Phty