by Emma Esslemont
The warm up is a crucial part of the preparation process when it comes to any form of exercise. Skip out on it and you may cost yourself an injury or even a personal best time. Yep that’s right- lack of warm up has been shown to actually decrease physical performance levels.
Stretching on its own as a warm up is a bit of a’ debated’ topic among health professionals. Can it actually help prevent injury? Will it stop us from having sore muscles after exercise? Unfortunately not even science has a definitive answer. It’s not black and white but the conclusion we can make is that stretching when combined with an active sports specific warm up is an important component of preparing the body for exercise.
Triathletes use just about all the major muscle groups throughout the three stages of the race. Prior to training or an event dynamic stretching is where your focus should be. I think it’s also important to include a few functional movements in a warm up. This combination will stimulate the nervous system, increase blood flow and prepare your muscles for activity.
Give this little active warm up a go!
Shoulder Rolls: 10 x each arm, forward and backward.
Thoracic rotations: 5 x each side. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and rotating at the hips left then all the way right.
Hip Swings: 10 x each side. Stand on one foot, swing leg forwards and backwards to warm up your hamstrings and quadriceps.
Calf raises: 20 x double leg. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, raise up onto your toes and slowly lower heels back to the ground.
Walking lunges: x 10 each side. Step forward with one leg, lower body by bending the front knee until your back knee touches the ground. Come up into standing and step through with opposite leg.
Push-ups: 10 x full range (ladies you can go on your knees if you need)
Feel free to add in any of your favourite stretches if you have certain areas that need more work. It’s also not a bad idea to wind the legs over with a handful of jogging efforts just to get the heart rate a little elevated and mentally get you in the zone!
You should be feeling a little more limber after this and ready to dive straight in.
Emma Esslemont is Wiggle’s new Australian physio blogger – Em has been working at EastSports Physiotherapy down in Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach for the past 8 years. Her expertise focus around sports and musculoskeletal injuries and is involved with the injury management of various sporting clubs and teams within the Sydney area.
Em has completed post graduate training in Western Acupuncture / Dry Needling, Active Release Technique (ART) and also has her personal training qualification.