Warming up is often boring and 90% involves some sort of running with various hands touching the floor to the count of 1, 2 or 3. I often found kids saying to me “can’t we just play a match” or the universal “owwwwww” in response to efforts to get them to warm-up and stretch properly. Great coaches control their group and motivate them to do well but sometimes we can forget the educational reasons why we do things so here’s some info on the subject that might be useful.
When it’s 85 degrees outside do we need to warm up?
Yes! Whilst our skin may be warm and our heads may be wet its our muscles that actually make us move and “warming-up” isn’t just about making our body feel hot it’s about the muscle fibres that we’re exerting having the chance to stretch out and become more elastic before they get used for exercise. As a coach on a hot day I’d involve more stop and start exercises and have kids moving their whole bodies to the floor to engage more muscle groups for around 5-7 minutes.
Do warm-ups need to involve running?
Running is a great way to do a warm-up but for some sports it may require more variety than this such as gymnastics. Anyone can Google ‘warm-ups without running’ but tips of mine would be the crab walk, jump rope or burpees.
The purpose of the warm-up
To increase your breathing and heart rate.
To increase energy-releasing reactions in the muscles and their fibbers.
To promote blood flow to the muscles supplying them with more oxygen.
There’s been a lot of sports science research done on stretching before and after exercise. We know 2 main forms of stretch, static and dynamic.
Static stretches are done by holding a muscle in a fixed position for a set amount of time. I would recommend 20-30 seconds for these stretches per muscle group with a main focus on hamstrings, quadriceps, shoulders and ankles but feel free to include more areas. It is good to start stretching at a young age because kids should associate exercise as starting with stretches and as we mature the importance of keeping these key muscle areas prepared for intense movements will lower the risk of injury. Do these before exercise
Dynamic stretches change the stretch from held still to being moving stretches, these hold more benefit to the cool down session and should be introduced subtly as part of the cool down. It is still recommended to end a session with a static stretch which should be held for a little longer than the warm up because it helps flush some of the waste products produced when exercising
Hope that helps educate (slightly) warming up and why it’s important to always do so, leave any comments or questions bellow, happy training.