18 Sep The Importance of the Warm-Up
I would like to take this opportunity to remind our athletes and coaches of the importance of a proper warm-up. With many of our athletes currently in season, we need to stress that warming-up, as part of a pre-game routine, is essential for both training and game days. Athletes don’t only need to warm-up but they need to do it properly.
Let’s start with why we warm-up? The overarching reasons are the warm-up prepares you both physically and MENTALLY! Additionally, an appropriate warm-up can reduce the risk of injury. Lastly, the right warm-up has been proven to ENHANCE PERFORMANCE.
So how to warm-up? To start with, going out and throwing a ball for 5 minutes is not a proper warm-up. If you forgot or you just don’t completely understand how to properly warm-up, here are some key elements to focus on when designing a warm up.
First, we want to get the body moving with exercises such as short sprints or jumping rope. For lacrosse athletes a typical line drill is perfect. Baseball / Softball players can start with some short sprints or jump rope before just putting on your glove and throwing the ball. The purpose of this portion of the warm-up is to simply raise the body temperature, heart rate, blood flow, respiration and even joint viscosity. This does not need to last any longer than 5 minutes.
Second, this part of the warm-up would be more geared towards the activation of muscles and mobility exercises. This is when we would use mini bands, do shuffles, squats, lunges, thoracic mobility, etc. Again, no longer than 5 minutes needs to be spent on this. Think about the joints and be sure to be hitting specific exercises to activate the muscles around those joints.
The last part of a good warm-up would be to mimic something close to the activity you are about to be involved in, whether that is a game, practice or workout. For lacrosse players, something with a change of direction, cone drills, start-stop drills. You could finish with some reactive drills, 1 on 1’s. Baseball / Softball this is when we could do infield-outfield drills. This final part will obviously take longer than the 5 minutes. Try to keep it under 15 minutes, remember we are getting the body and mind ready to perform not trying to fatigue it.
One final note, just as we individualize our prehab/workouts at Athletes Warehouse, the warm-up does not need to be the same for every athlete. For example, one athlete might need to spend time warming-up change of direction and the other might need to spend more time warming-up catching and receiving. Be smart, understand the value and importance of the warm-up as part of your pre-game routine, it will only serve to benefit you throughout the season!