We hear it all over. At the ballfield, in the gyms, on the court and fields, “Go get warmed up”. “Go stretch.” “Get loosened up.” Great intention and advice given from coaches, parents, even our inner voice, right? Right. The problem lies in how we go about “getting ready.” I remember back when I played sports, “stretching” before the game was the best time to get the latest scoop from teammates, talk about current events, and just count to “10” as a team as if that was somehow intimidating to the opponent. After years of maturity, continuing education, injury rehab, I have now realized that “getting warmed up” adequately might just be the most important part of our workout or participation in sport. When done correctly, a dynamic warm-up can improve your athletic performance and prevent injury.
I think we can all agree that all of us move better once we have been out of bed for awhile. Our bodies have had a chance to move in multiple planes, understand what we demand of it, and just generally “wake up”. This is the intention of a good dynamic warm-up. It’s not just about stretching out our hamstrings, its letting our bodies get acclimated and primed to activity we are getting ready to accomplish.
A dynamic warm-up focuses on full-body movement with multiple muscle groups working at once. Static stretching is not “bad”, but is rather most effective (and should be) performed after a workout. Dynamic programs increase your heart rate, improve blood flow, increase mobility, and prime your body for athletic training.
Some tips for performing a dynamic warm-up:
Don’t just go thru the movements, be aware of your body and try to attempt a full range
This is not a race. Doing it right is more important than doing it quickly.
When you find a movement that is difficult- don’t give up. Modify if you have to, but keep
trying! You will be surprised, before long that movement will get easier and easier if you just stick with it.