Skipping your warmup…… That’s a mistake you’ll never want to make again! – reduce your injury risk and improve your performance!
Do you ever just skip your warmup or just do a few stretches or nothing at all before you get out there and smash out a 10km run or jump straight into a weights or high intensity session? Well, if that’s that case you’re not only increasing your chances of injuring yourself but decreasing how well you will perform.
Do ever wonder why you keep pulling that hamstring every run, or why your feet, ankles or hips feel sore every training session or even why the first 1-2km feels like struggle town? It may all come down to one simple thing…YOUR WARMUP!!!
So how is a warmup going to help?
Warms ups are the most important part of any training session. What it helps to do is simply within its name ‘WARM UP’ however that is not its only benefit!
You wouldn’t not prepare yourself for a job interview, so why skip your warmup? Warming up helps us to prepare for the exercise we are about to do, it enables our body to have a little taste of just what is to come and to essentially WAKE UP!! Making that first 2km a little less sluggish..
An efficient warmup prepares the body for exercise by gradually increasing the bodies heart rate, circulation and temperature (so yes, be prepared to get sweaty) which as a result helps to activate the body, increasing the movement of our joints and the blood flow towards our active muscles.
Warming up is important to prevent injury, it allows the body to gradually prepare so that it can safely perform the desired activity. Making sure you don’t pull your hammy on your first sprint!
We all know that muscle soreness you get typically 1-2 days after you smashed out your run or workout, where getting up off the couch and sitting on the loo is difficult, well that is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (AKA D.O.M.S) and guess what?! Studies that have found that a good and efficient warmup can help reduce D.O.M.S, making getting up off the toilet a little less agonising (2)!
What does a good warm up look like?
A good and efficient warm up doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s keep it simple guys!
To assist in ensuring that our warmup is efficient enough the ‘R.A.M.P- warm up protocol’ is an effective tool we can use! It assists us in ensuring that our body is awake and ready to smash out the session ahead.. because in all honesty how will you reach your PB if you are still half asleep?
- R- Raise: starting with low intensity activities that help to raise our body temperature, heart rate, breath rate and blood flow, this assists us in pumping blood and oxygen around our body and to our working muscles. E.g a light jog or shuttle run.
- A- Activate: Exercises that help activate and engage the key muscle groups, in particular focusing on what will be used during the session. So, for runners lets target those hamstrings, quads, calves and glutes (bum muscles) E.g. Glute bridges “squeeze, squeeze, squeeze”, Calf raises.
- M- Mobilise: Activities that focus on the movement patterns that will be used throughout the session. Dynamic movements assist in mobilising the key joints whilst increasing their range of movement. E.G Leg swings, skipping, high knees, ankle glides.
- P- Potentiation: Taking the body through the activity it is about to do, slowly increasing the intensity, this helps to improve the effectiveness of performance and ensure the body is ready (set, go!) E.G strides increasing pace slowly, 10-minute jog.
- Start slow and build pace.
- Start simple and gradually increase the warmups complexity.
- Avoid static stretching this can be used as part of cool down.
What if I don’t warm up?
Well do you really want to know?
To keep it simple, you are not doing yourself any favours! In fact, more 30% of injuries that present to sports medicine clinics are musculoskeletal injuries that could have easily been prevented via warming up (1)!
I understand that most of us could apply for the circus with the number of responsibilities we juggle in our lives from work, children, school, sporting commitments and social outings, but skipping your warm up because of time is something that needs to end now.
That’s right most people skip their warmup to save time…. But in the long run you may be making up the time, in the medical department or seeking short- or long-term treatments for the injuries that may occur!
So lets make the time…. You’ll thank me later!
Common injuries for runners:
Here at Bodywell Healthcare, there are quite a number of running related injuries that we see.
An adequate warm up may help to reduce your chances of acquiring one of these!
- Muscle strains/ tears (AKA “pulled hammy”):
A muscle strain occurs when there is stretching or tearing of the muscle fibres (what makes up the muscle). Typically, a muscle strain occurs when the muscle has been stretched past its limit or from contracting too forcefully. Common muscles that runner’s strain or tear include: hamstring, quad or calf.
- Ankle sprains:
Ankle sprains occurs when the ankle is rolled, twisted a particular way, resulting in the stretching or tearing of ligaments around the ankle. Most commonly they affect the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle but can occur on the inner side of the ankle.
- Shin splints (Medial tibial stress syndrome):
Shin splints are a condition that is associated with pain along the shin bone. Pain occurs as a result of inflammation and trauma caused by the muscles tendons creating a traction force away from where they attach to the shin bone… OUCH!
Tendinopathies is a condition that affect the tendon. A tendon is a fibrous band that connects muscle to bone. Tendons can become inflamed, injured or damaged resulting in pain. Common areas for tendinopathies include Achilles tendon, patella tendon (knee) hamstring tendon, glute med tendon (bum muscle),
- Plantar Fasciitis:
Plantar Fasciitis is a condition that results in pain under the bottom of the foot. It occurs when the fascia which is a strong band of tissue that acts as a shock absorber becomes inflamed or irritated.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS):
The iliotibial band is a thick band that runs from the outside of your hip to your knee. Pain can occur at outer side of the knee due to repetitive friction of the band at against the knee.
- Stress fracture:
A stress fracture is a small crack that occurs in the bone. Commonly for runner’s stress fractures occur in the lower leg or foot (metatarsals).
How can we help?
The team at Bodywell Healthcare are always here to help!
If you are dealing with or currently have a running or sport related injury, pain or even uncertain about a niggle, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.
For any general questions or queries, feel free to call us on 9717 1200 or send us an email at [email protected]
To make an appointment please call 9717 1200 or alternatively use our online booking system.
1. Woods K, Bishop P, Jones E. Warm-Up and Stretching in the Prevention of Muscular Injury. Sports Medicine [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2021];37:1089-1099. Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200737120-00006#citeas
2. Olsen O, Sjøhaug M, Van Beekvelt M, Mork P. The Effect of Warm-Up and Cool-Down Exercise on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in the Quadriceps Muscle: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Human Kinetics [Internet]. 2012;35(1):59-68. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3588693/