An effective warm up is the precursor to an effective training session. As the saying goes, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. In order to effectively stimulate the body for the session ahead whilst at the same time reducing the risk of injury, an effective warm up should consist of 6 steps. The reasons behind including these different steps, and examples of what to incorporate at each stage, are detailed below to help inform your next warm up.
Step 1: Tissue Quality
When athletes train hard, trauma is caused to the tissues of the body which results in heightened activity of muscles spindles (mechanoreceptors which detects changes in muscle length and rate of this change) in particular areas of the muscle. As a result of this, ‘knots’ or ‘trigger points’ form in the soft tissue which decreases the normal elasticity of the soft tissue. Through the use of self-myofascial techniques (think foam rollers, lacrosse balls etc.) mechanoreceptors which detect changes in muscle tension and rate of tension change called Golgi Tendon Organs are stimulated resulting in autogenic inhibition, that is, inhibition of the muscle spindle causing the brain to relax to prevent that muscle from tearing .
Step 2: Get Warm