The difference between preventing injury and wasting time
Every day that you train and every day that your team practices, you probably have a set of movements that you go through before you get to work. I bet you call this your “warm-up”. But I would guess that you are not truly “getting warm.” In fact, you might just be wasting your time!
How can this be?
A Good Warm Up Lasts…
A great athlete or a great team can win championships. However, championships are not at the beginning of the year and most athletes are far from feeling fresh by the time playoffs role around. It wouldn’t seem like the most helpful thing, but a good warm up can help you last longer into the season.
A proper warm up should consist of work on weak points. If you have a “bum knee” or “weak ankles” or any lingering mobility issue, you can fix it every day! Don’t wait on your athletic trainer to tell you you’re allowed to rehab; treat your weaknesses every single day.
Remember, weaknesses are what will fail first in any season!
Make It Count
My advice when determining what to do for a warm up is to focus on the common issues that plague the sport (ie. hamstring strains, back pain, etc.), then create a base movement system to address getting those specific areas loose and “warm.” After the base is established, you can then add on to it.
Make this easy on yourself. If you had certain problems in the past year, address those problems.
Ankle issues: add ankle strengthening or balance exercises
Hamstring issues: add hamstring specific movements to heat them up
Shoulder issues: add on some shoulder work to your warm up
And so on…
The best way to do this is to get in contact with your Athletic Trainer or local physical therapist and determine a set of quick, but effective exercises to make up your different add-ons. They can also review whether or not you are wasting time with some of your base movements.
Here are some quick add-ons you can apply to your current warm up:
Ankle issues: add on 1 leg hopping (side to side) to your warm up, as well as 1 leg balance exercises (stand on one leg, touch your toe)
Shoulder issues: bring a light band to practice and perform side and front raises, as well and internal and external rotations – the idea is to get a good burn going
Back issues: add in planks and back extensions to your warm up
Warm ups can be based on the ground, staying in one place or moving. Check out the video by XLAthlete that goes through a “ground-based” warm up.
And if you are short on time, pick the essentials and do them until you breathe heavy and sweat!