From time-to-time we will be sharing training tips from Drew “Coach” Robertson of Evolved SX. This week’s entry involves proper warm-up technique and why it is so important to your routine and results…
You’ll see a lot of athletes jogging, pedaling a stationary bike, skipping then statically stretching… this is ok, but who wants to settle for ok, not you, you have been training and eating like it’s your job. Now lets warm-up properly to take advantage of all that hard work. In truth you should be doing a dynamic warm-up before every workout as well, either weights or cardio.
We still start with some light jogging or a light spin on a stationary bike, maybe some light skipping for 5-10 minutes, then we are going to do some dynamic warm-up activities, dynamic who’s a what? Well instead of going over every exercise and trying to explain it, I have created a .PDF with pictures and explanations of some of the dynamic movements I get my athletes to go through before they head out to race or workout. Now why is this dynamic warm-up better than just going for a light jog you ask? The dynamic warm-up involves continuous movement thus maintaining warmth in your body and muscles, it has been shown that athletes core temperature drop as much as 3 degrees when they are doing static stretches. It also prepares the muscles and joints in a more specific manner than static stretching or just jogging, as well as enhancing coordination and motor abilities and gets the nervous system going. The mechanical efficiency of contracting muscles goes up and muscle contractions along with force of those contractions increases when the muscles temperature is raised.
Another important fact about dynamic warm-ups is that being statically flexible does not always translate into dynamic flexibility, and the last time I checked you tend to move around a lot on the bike!!! Dynamic stretching has been shown to increase your flexibility, just ask Iain Hayden who had been stretching for years but could barley touch his knees when I first started working with him, now Iain can place his palms on the floor!! This goes towards preventing injury, the more flexible your are (to a point) the less injuries you will incur especially if you’re warmed up properly. Another benefit aside from the physical aspects which alone are great reasons to ditch the old warm-up routines is a mental one, I have found that when athletes sit and stretch they tend to daydream or think about other things that are distracting them form there racing, when going through the dynamic warm-up athletes have to focus on the task at hand and concentrate on what they are doing.
A couple of notes before we move on, if you choose to jog around the pits or go for a bike ride, make sure you watch were your going and the ground underneath your feet or wheels, the last thing you want to do is catch your front wheel in a gopher hole or twist an ankle while your warming up. Another point a lot of my athletes like to listen to there iPod while they warm-up, this is part of there mental preparation (more on this in another issue) so going for a pedal down a rode might be a little dangerous when your rocking out your favorite beats. A quickie about skipping, if you are not a great skipper then don’t use skipping to start off your warm-up, I have seen a few people get so frustrated trying to skip there was skipping ropes flying every where and the last thing you want is to be frustrated on race day and really you don’t want to be frustrated before workout either.
Want to learn more about dynamic warm-ups, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you out a copy of the .PDF I have created showing and describing a dynamic warm-up.
Till next time if you have any questions please contact me.