There are three components to a well rounded warm up that every athlete should be doing. They include self myofasical release, prehab & activation work and movement prep. These components prepare the athlete to have a more efficient and productive training session.
Self myofasical release takes place in the first five minutes of the training session where the athlete uses a foam roller to work on improving their tissue quality. A number of rolls can be performed over each area of the body; usually eight to ten will suffice. This is the time to break up adhesions or knots in the tissue and transport nutrients to the area for repair and growth. This also prepares the muscles for the next step in the warm up.
Prehab & activation work is what we like to call our developmental part of the warm up. It is when the athlete is developing their mobility and stability. Each athlete has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses; this is the time to work on those weaknesses. The limitations that are holding an athlete back need to be addressed and turned into their strengths. Hip mobility and core stability are two areas of our developmental process that are usually addressed most frequently. These are areas that athletes tend to have the most difficulty mastering, but are extremely important to their success. Proper hip mobility enables the athlete to be in a stance that is most suitable to playing sport and having stability throughout the core gives the athlete the ability to transfer force through their lower body to their upper extremities.
The final part of the warm up is the movement prep section which focuses on preparing the athlete to perform the exercises that are part of their training program for that training session. This involves going through body weight movements that are performed dynamically. This includes squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, skipping and bounding. The athlete is now primed to execute the training session to the best of their ability.
A proper warm up takes about 20-25 minutes to complete and is a key to reducing injuries, moving efficiently and having a great training session. Takes the time to prepare your athletes for the training session ahead with a proper warm up and you will see your athletes moving and feeling better, and yeah, they will be stronger and faster too!
SPU's Alex Drayson and Matt Migiano write the SPU Athletic Performance Blog.
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