Warming up and cooling down

Most of us understand a typical warm up as getting your heart rate up and warming up your muscles. Whilst this is partially correct, a warmup actually requires a significant amount more focus in order to be effective in preventing injuries and ensuring you perform optimally.

Your warmup should be organised in a format that begins with raising the heart rate, followed by muscle activation before mobility exercises and then finishing with skill/sport specific movements.

For example, you would begin the warmup with a low intensity heart rate elevating exercise such as a light run or cycle. Next you would activate the certain postural/stability muscles required for that session such as the glutes for the lower body and rotator cuffs for upper body. Then you would move onto mobility, which is important to note that any mobility exercises should be strictly dynamic stretches only! The final stage involves the sport/skill specific movements for your given activity ie. a lower body session you would begin squatting with very light weights. We encourage to always start with just the bar before adding weight!

Warming up correctly prepares you to perform at your peak for that session and is a major preventative aid for injuries. A dynamic warm up stimulates your central nervous system, making you stronger and more mobile with increased circulation placing more blood and oxygen in your working muscles. This enables you to train with correct form thus preventing injury and allowing you to gain the most out of your training.

Cool downs are equally as important as your muscles mould to the positions they cool down in. As you train your muscles tighten up so it is important to lengthen them post training. After your training is when you should perform static stretching as it relaxes your muscles and prevents muscle soreness. Failing to stretch after strenuous activity results in your muscles staying tight and you are likely to wake up the next day or days following very sore and stiff. If you don’t have time to warm up and cool down then you don’t have time to workout!

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