One of the simplest things that needs to be done well is the dynamic warm up. The reason we warm up is simple. To ensure we perform the best in the session which is about to start and also to reduce the risk of injury in that session.
If we delve further, research shows benefits such as:
- Faster muscle contraction and relaxation of agonist and antagonist muscles
- Improvements in rate of force development (RFD) and reaction times
- Improvements in muscle strength and power
- Increased blood flow to active muscles
- Reduced risk of injury*
*Any research into this area is hard to carry out due to ethical issues. Can you let one group do no warm ups and potentially get injured just to prove a hypothesis? That would be tough for both the researcher and the injured player. Research has suggested a lower injury risk in those who do thorough warm ups but this evidence is not yet conclusive.
Most people have heard of the RAMP Method but let’s revisit so we’re all on the same page.
Elevates body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, blood flow and joint fluid viscosity.
Activate and Mobilise:
Activate key muscle groups and mobilise joints and ranges of motion (ROM) used in the sporting activity.
Increase the intensity of exercise to a point at which athletes are able to subsequently perform their training or matches. This could involve selecting activities which may contribute to a super-maximal effect and therefore increase performance via a Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) effect.
With that simple framework in place, let’s break it down to apply to an individual gym or speed session.