An effective warm-up prepares you mentally and physically for a training session and optimal game performance. A dynamic warm-up can be divided into four main phases to boost body temperature and blood flow to working muscles, activate muscle groups, stimulate the nervous system and enhance joint mobility. The warm-up phases are essential for maximum athletic performance and injury prevention.
Phase One: Mobilization
The first phase of the warm-up is the mobilization stage and should last one to five minutes. This is basically the warm-up for the warm-up. These exercises gently and progressively move each major joint though their available range of motion to combat joint stiffness and muscle tightness. Start with rotating your neck, then perform some arm circles. Work your down the body. Move your hips around in circles, bring your knee to your chest, and finish off with some toe raises.
Phase Two: Pulse Raise
The objective of the second phase of the warm-up is to raise your heart rate and should last three to 10 minutes. The pulse-raise phase is important for activating your body’s physiological and energy producing systems. It also serves to increase the elasticity of the soft tissues, helping to prevent injuries. This phase can be completed by getting on a treadmill, elliptical or rower. You can also jump rope, jog in place or shadow box to get your heart rate going.
Phase Three: Dynamic Stretching
The purpose of this phase of your warm-up is to actively stretch your muscles and take them to the lengths they will experience in your training session or in a game. The dynamic flexibility phase lasts two to 10 minutes and emphasizes actively stretching your muscles with continuous movement. Try performing walking lunges with trunk rotations, bear crawls, lateral squats and elbow to in-step crawls.
Phase Four: Movement Application
The final phase of the warm-up should last about two to 10 minutes and is designed to help you gradually reach an optimal training intensity without being under-worked or over-fatigued. Because our our bodies move in many directions or planes of movement, therefore, we need to be prepared for this. Try performing some short sprints increasing in intensity, jump squats, bounding, backpedaling, and lateral plank walks.
- Performance Training Journal; Warm-Ups Under the Microscope; Richard Scrivener
- Essentials of Strength and Conditioning: Third Edition; Thomas Baechle, Roger Earle; 2008
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; Four-Week Dynamic Stretching Warm-Up Intervention Elicits Longer-Term Performance Benefits; 2008
- American College of Sports Medicine: Basic Injury Prevention Concepts
- U.S. Navy: Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises
- Exrx: ExRx: Warm-up
- YouTube: Lateral Plank Walks
- YouTube: Bounding