What is a Warm Up?

Not a warm up ^

Not a warm up ^

A typical warm up usually includes doing some static stretching and maybe doing some cardio for 5 minutes and then hitting the gym to do your workout or activity of your choosing.  The goal is to increase flexibility and loosen up your muscles for the activity so you can prevent an injury and feel better while working out. But does this kind of warm up actually do the things we think it does?

Research shows that static stretching for more than 30 seconds does not improve performance or prevent injury.  In fact, stretching before working out may actually decrease performance and increase risk for injuries if held long enough.  The other part of the warm up is doing some cardio to warm up the body, but does it aide in improving performance or is there a better option to a nonspecific warm up?  

Here is how we now define a warm up.  A good warm up should include some soft tissue work, mobility work, pillar preparation (core work), dynamic stretching, activation exercises for the hips and shoulders, and then progressing to activity specific movement preparation that focuses on improving performance of the components of the task you are preparing for.  Now this may seem complicated and more difficult than it needs to be, but if you are constantly having difficulties with aches and pains there is a good chance you would benefit from changing up your warm up routine to something more specific that will address your individual weaknesses.  This is why you should consult with someone who understands human performance, injury prevention, and physical therapy. 

There is a lot of free stuff out there and a lot of information, but what is lacking is wisdom.  Having information and knowing what to do with it, when, and why, is more important than knowing techniques that you can find on social media.  I have created a warm up for our REP Performance program that has shown to be very valuable from our kids in grade school through our collegiate athletes.

At Rehab Solutions provide unmatched value with any programming, consulting, or treatment.  If you are interested in a personalized warm up get in touch with me and we will get a "warm up" ready for you.

Andrew Nielsen PT, DPT