July 27, 2017

The Importance of a Relevant Warm Up

Jamie Fullerton
,
Head Physiotherapist
Everyone knows the importance of a warm up - to warm the muscles and tendons, oil up the joints, mobilise fascia and increase the heart rate. But what is the correct amount of time to warm up and what should you do to decrease the risk of injury as much as possible whilst optimising performance? In our latest blog, we answer those questions for you.

How long should I warm up for?

Ensure you warm up for 10-15 mins. We suggest the first thing you do is slowly increase your heart rate (how this is done will differ depending on your fitness levels and chosen activity).

What should I do to warm up?

Again, this depends on your chosen sport/activity and your current fitness level. We suggest trying to replicate your selected movement at a lesser intensity. 

If you are a long-distance runner, start off by walking and gradually increase the pace for 5-10 minutes. 

If you are running a more intense race (e.g. 5km/10km) then progress to your race pace at the end of your walk/jog. 

If you a squatting with weights, let your body adjust to the movement without resistance (before slowly adding weight) to mobilise the relevant muscles, tendons and fascia.

Why is this important?

The main reason we warm up is to prevent injury. This is often done at a higher level of fitness as routine and without second thought, as it enables optimum performance. Ensuring muscles stay warm will prevent acute injuries, such as calf and hamstring strains. A good warm up will also reduce the risk of overuse injuries, such as tendinopathies. In more static sports (e.g. cricket/baseball), it is important to keep the muscles mobile throughout the game. 

To stretch or not to stretch?

There is conflicting evidence on this subject but we suggest a dynamic stretch as a warm up to allow the muscle to safely mobilise, encourage co-ordination and prevent cramps. Static stretches (the most common stretches which are typically seen in yoga) would be used in the warm down to prevent muscle shortening and development of contractures and troublesome trigger points.

If you are struggling with any of these topics or an injury and would like further advice then please do not hesitate to call or email us on 0151 559 1107 or info@thetreatmenttable.com!

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