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How to warm-up effectively before training

How do you warm up before training? Do you roll out of bed before dawn and run out the door; or do you spend all day in the office then drive to the pool and dive straight in?

Warming up effectively before training is important to allow you body time to function correctly and perform at your best.

The benefits can be both physiological and psychological;

·       Increases core body temperature, circulation, heart rate and respiration.

·       Allows the body the ability to move efficiently.

·       Prepares the body for higher intensity exercise.

·       Mentally prepares the athlete for effective training session.

·       Reduces the risk of injury.

A warm-up should be progressive in intensity and move from general activities to sports specific exercises or movements. It should be around 10min duration depending on the desired intensity of the session and individual factors such levels of fatigue or freshness, previous injuries, mobility limitations, training history and age etc. 

3 key points to an effective warm-up:

1.       5min gentle activity.

2.       Mobilise joints and muscles. 

3.       Activate key muscle groups.

Every warm-up should be specific to the sport and training session. For example a warm up prior to strength training will be slightly different to a warm-up for a run session.

Example warm-up for run session:

1.       1-2km walk/ jog.

2.       Hip openers, leg swings, A-march, B-march, walking lunges, squats.

3.       A-skip, B-skip, single leg hops, bounding, run throughs.

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If you aren’t warming up effectively start now! If you ‘don’t have time’ shorten your session and spend this time warming up. Better still make sure you are organised prior to each session to allow yourself time to 'switch on' physically and mentally.

The benefits on improving performance and reducing injury are exceptional!

Strength coaching for A+ Health & Performance.


Aaron Ashdown