It is widely accepted by fitness professionals that a warm-up is essential to optimal performance. The degree, type and longevity of the activity will often encourage the structure of a warm-up. However, despite a change in activity, the main goal of every warm-up is to do just that, increase both the body’s core temperature as well as the muscle temperature. An increase in body temperature of just one degree Celsius has been shown to reduce the incidence of injury to skeletal muscle.
When thinking of a warm-up, most will think of static stretching: the process of holding an elongated muscle position in an effort to achieve a stretch; however, despite its common practice, static stretching is considered far less effective than dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is progressing through a muscle’s range of motion utilizing movement and momentum; there is no “holding” phase to this style of stretching.
With respect to the warm-up, dynamic stretching is regarded as significantly more beneficial than its static counterpart. In fact, static stretching has been stated to “decrease performance in all areas” when included in a warm-up according to research published in 2009 by Drs. Bompa and Haff, and should be left for the cool-down, post-workout phase.
Try adding a few of the following movements to your next warm-up. Questions? Ask one of our helpful trainers to clarify!
-Frankenstein Kicks -Steam Engines -Bodyweight Squats -Grapevine -Bear Crawl -Shuffle Steps -High-knees