Dynamic warm-up: what it is and why it is the best way to prepare the body for training: six key exercises
More than twenty years ago, a pre-workout warmup generally meant a series of long, slow, sedentary stretches. It is that in recent years, the science of exercise has united around a better way to prepare the body for the effort: dynamic warm-up.
A dynamic warm up is a set of controlled and accelerated movements that can help make your training safer and more effective, said Alvaro López Samanes, assistant professor and international coordinator of physiotherapy at the Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid, who study its effect on tennis players.
Research suggests that dynamic warm-ups improve agility, speed, and overall performance in a wide variety of sportsincluding the tennis, the baseball and the careers.
They can also reduce the risk of injury. In a fast-moving, direction-changing sport like soccer, a personalized dynamic warm-up reduced the chances of injury by approximately one 30 per cent.
While Olympic runners and World Cup players practice them before they compete, they’re not just for elite athletes. In fact, “people who don’t move athletically very often need more dynamic warm-ups”said Emily Hutchins, personal trainer and owner of On Your Mark Coaching and Training in Chicago.
If you jump straight out of your office chair or bed to exercise, you may end up with a slouched posture, not to mention cold, tight muscles that don’t move smoothly. Dynamic warm-ups close the gap.
Dynamic warmups involve a series of exercises, at least some of which are dynamic stretches that take the joints through their full range of motion.
The key is that they increase the body temperature and begin to gently stress the soft tissues.
Together, this heat and stress produce what is called a thixotropic effectsaid David Behm, a professor and exercise scientist at the School of Recreation and Human Kinetics at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Muscles and tendons become less viscous and move more fluidlyin the same way that shaking a bottle loosens clogged ketchup, or honey dilutes when stirred in a cup of hot tea.
Due to its rapid pace, dynamic stretching it also activates intracellular sensors called muscle spindles, which then amplify electrical currents that help the mind and muscles connect. communicate and make muscles respond bettersaid Dr. Behm.
The opposite effect occurs when long, slow stretches are held: Those same axes are suppressed, slowing messages between the brain and body to help reduce tension. That is why static stretching alone, while important for range of motion and injury reduction, does not prepare one for a workoutsaid the specialist.
In addition to the immediate benefits of dynamic warmups, Dr. López Samanes said that, over time, improving agility and coordination can also reduce the risk of injury. The investigation suggests that doing these pre-workout routines at least twice a week for 10 to 12 weeks could protect muscles, joints, and bones from damage.
Just eight minutes will be enough for a dynamic warm-up, said Dr. López Samanes. In fact, if you stretch it out to 25 minutes, you’ll probably feel tired before your workout.
Based on the research, the specialist he suggested six to eight exercises, each performed for about 15 to 30 seconds, two to three times. They should be undertaken slowly and increase in effort and intensity over time.
It begins with movements in the lower part of the body. The large muscles in the legs and core generate more heat, which raises the temperature of the entire bodysaid Dr. López Samanes.
From there, you need to match the warm up with the details of the workout to be done. “You need practice the movements that you are going to do”, added Dr. Behm.
If this sport or activity involves rapid changes of direction (as in squash or soccer), agility-based movements can be included.
And if you are about to train for a sport with an overhead component, such as rock climbing or volleyball, you can include quick movements that activate the shoulder complex, the network of muscles and tendons around that joint. which is often injured.
To get you started, here’s a basic routine that works for a variety of workouts:
From a standing position, the right foot is kicked up in front of one to about waist height, stretching the hamstring. Then come back down, and repeat with the left leg, moving the body forward.
You begin in a standing position with your feet together. The right foot is lifted off the ground and a large step forward is taken. The right knee is then bent and the hips are lowered until the right thigh is parallel to the floor, or until the position becomes awkward, whichever comes first. it suits Try to keep your back straight, your upper body still, and your back foot planted. Finally, return to the starting position and repeat the entire procedure with the left leg.
Sitting all day can strain the hip flexor muscles; this exercise helps activate and lengthen them.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and then step forward with your left leg. The right knee is raised and the leg is rotated so that the shin is parallel to the floor, grasping the right ankle with the left hand near the hip.
The hand should be held quite straight over the right knee, gently “cradling” and pulling the leg towards the chest. At the end he lets go and takes a step forward with his right leg and repeats it again but with the other side.
Standing, take a big step to the right, keeping your toes facing forward and your heels pressing into the ground. The hips and right knee are bent as the weight is moved over the right foot. This position is held until the left leg is almost fully extended and the right knee hovers over the second toe of the right foot. Then one stands up again and repeats on the left side.
Keeping toes pointed forward, torso high, and weight on the balls of the feet, they shuffle to one side and then the other. While doing this, raise your arms above your head and lower them, as if you were doing a jumping jack.
This move opens up your mid-back and elongates your chest, which counteracts the effects of slouching over screens. one has to Lie on your left side with knees and hips bent 90 degrees and arms straight in front of you with palms touching. The right arm is stretched up and towards the ground -on the right side-, turning the trunk instead of the hips. Finally, return to the starting position and repeat the same on the other side.
Extra credit: Add a foam roller.
If you have a little more time and want to take your warm-up to the next level, you can spend a few minutes with a self-massage tool like a foam roller. Some studies suggest that Combining foam rolling with a dynamic warm-up can further improve agility and coordination.
Ms. Hutchins has her clients roll over first to increase blood flow before beginning her dynamic movements; Dr. López Samanes reserves it for later, when the warmer muscles can improve their range of motion.