When returning to the field or starting or returning to any form of exercise after a prolonged period of being away, it is important that you introduce the activity gradually and not immediately. This has many benefits and avoids any unnecessary re-injury. There are many ways you can re-introduce your sport or your training; this blog is designed to run through a warm-up program to implement during your first few sessions back as well as on-going.
It is vital to ready your body for the activity that you will be complete; while each sport might be different, a warm-up is a part of any program. Many people miss out on the value that warmups have to offer, and the significance it has on your performance and management/ prevention of injury.
While many people see warm-up as a run on the treadmill/a couple of laps of the field, it is much more than that. The process that you should follow is activate (engage and activate the target muscle or muscles), mobilise (move the joints you’re about to use), warm-up (moving your body in the same way at lower level increments), and then train. This way you are addressing each of the fore mentioned components that are required for a holistic training program.
This looks something like the following, with this warm up being perfect for leg day at the gym or before performing any leg focussed exercises:
Begin with activation of our core leg muscles:
Dosage: 1-2 Sets of 15 Repetitions * Plank and Side Plank; 30 Seconds
- Banded Clams at 45 and 90 degrees
- Double and Single Leg Bridge
- Prone Bent Knee Raise
- Side Plank
Mobilisation of our joints that are involved in the squat:
Dosage: 1-2 Sets of 15 Repetitions * Frog Sit; 30 Seconds
- Hip Rolls
- Frog Sit
- Cat and Cow
- Cobra and Child Pose
Now warming up for the legs, say for example doing a squat involves performing the exercise at different increments; as you increase intensity it is also an opportunity to gauge if you need to activate or mobilise a few more components before adding weight, seen as follows:
- No bar – 1 Set of 5 Repetitions
- Bar – 1 Set of 5 Repetitions
- Bar with 10kg – 1 Set of 3 Repetitions
As said by Sebastian Oreb, also known as the @australianstrengthcoach: “Earn the right to add weight to the bar”
This application can be adjusted and modified for any athlete, and to any sport or activity.
It also comes in handy to know the sport very well, and understanding that injuries can often be your body’s way of telling you which muscles you should warm-up and prepare more before commencing the activity.
Now you might be wondering if stretching is part of your warm-up… yes, yes it is, active stretching has been proven to increase power and performance. Examples of active stretches are leg swings forward/backward and side to side, lying leg raises, lying bent knee leg raise, etc.
I challenge you to complete a holistic warm-up and feel the change for yourself. If you would like to have a warm-up and training program created specifically for your needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can work together to find what works best for you.