Many athletes find themselves constrained by time so they sometimes sacrifice the warm up or cool down during a workout. Some of us can get away with this, especially if we are young, but as we age the warm up can be critical in warding off muscular injuries.
A proper warm up does not need to take longer than 15 minutes but should include 3 parts: neuromuscular activation, dynamic stretching and the sport specific cardio related to the activity you are about to engage in. Most of us currently complete the cardio warm up by doing 10-15 minute easy spins or runs but we forgo the first two. For those of you unfamiliar with neuromuscular activation, it is the connection from the brain to muscles through motor neurons. It is the process of initiating the movement process in the brain prior to a training session. When this is done there is a higher degree of stimulation of motor units which then can lead to greater muscular contraction during your work out.
Those athletes who have been to the Athletic Mentors gym for strength training should be familiar with a proper warm up routine.
- Foam roller: roll out key muscle groups
- Leg swings
- Ankle activation
- Band pulls to warm shoulder region
- Knee tucks to lunge
- Quad stretch to forward lean
- Inch worm
- High knees
- Butt kicks
- Ladder drills
If you take the time to complete a 15 minute warm up and 15 minute cool down you should be able to prevent injury and decrease muscle fatigue making your next workout more effective. Eliminating the junk mile that you would have normally used to warm up and replacing it with quality and efficiency, will set you up for a better overall workout.