Do we really need warm ups and cool downs? Before, I used to hear warm ups but cool downs, no. I don't even know the term cool down before. To my astonishment, its a necessity in every training. These things, that we often times take for granted, this minute details, should be taken seriously, for an athlete to have a maximum work out. And we ask why?
I hope this would Help....
Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness.
Warming up should at least consist of the following:
- 5 to 10 minutes jogging - to increase body temperature
- 10 to 15 minutes dynamic stretching exercises - reduce muscle stiffness
- 10 to 15 minutes general and event specific drills - preparation for the session or competition. e.g. for a runner
- 4 to 8 easy run outs over 30 to 60 metres - focus on correct running technique (Tall, Relaxed, Smooth and Drive)
Dynamic stretches are more appropriate to the warm up as they help reduce muscle stiffness. Static stretching exercises do not reduce muscle stiffness. For further information see the following articles:
- How does static stretching affect an athletes performance
- Dynamic versus passive stretches
- Static vs. Dynamic Flexibility
What are the benefits of a warm up?
Performance may be improved, as an appropriate warm up will result in an:
- Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
- Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
- Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
- Facilitated oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because haemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures
- Facilitated nerve transmission and muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
- Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
- Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
- Mentally focused on the training or competition
- 5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking - decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles
- 5 to 10 minutes static stretching exercises
Static stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibres and re-establish their normal range of movement. These stretches should be held for approximately 10 seconds.
What are the benefits of a cool down?
An appropriate cool down will:
- aid in the dissipation of waste products - including lactic acid
- reduce the potential for DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness)
- reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
- reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood
- allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate