by Olivia O’ Leary D.C BSc Hons Chiropractic
Even though it’s only early March already the hamstring, achilles tendon & calf strains/ tears associated with sport have been coming into the Clinic for assessment and treatment. Some of these injuries can be prevented and certainly they can be treated but valuable training time is lost particularly with the GAA and running seasons in full swing, so it makes sense to try to prevent injury and ensure we are preparing the body correctly for the participation in our chosen sports to prevent this in the first place.
Warming up your body with a dynamic routine prepares your body mentally and physically. A warm-up will improve the effectiveness of your training, improve athletic performance, reduce the likelihood of injury and promote a faster recovery from the event.
The two key warm-up goals are to:
1. Prepare athletes specifically for the training or competition both mentally and physically.
2. Minimise the risk of injury.
Preparing the body for exercise with a warm-up has several benefits including:
• Increased blood flow to muscles
• Faster delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to muscles
• Greater extensibility and elasticity of body tissues
• Allows joints to move more freely
• Psychological preparation for play
What is the ideal warm-up?
At Premiership teams like Man United the warm up is a vital part of an overall injury control strategy
A good warm-up should incorporate the muscle groups and activities that are required during training or competition. The intensity of a warm-up should begin at a low level gradually building to the level of intensity required during training or competition and should be performed prior to the activity.
For most athletes, 15 to 20 minutes is enough. However in cold weather or at higher levels of competition the duration of your warm-up should be increased.
What should a warm-up include?
The clinical team at Gorey Family Chiropractic commented that there is often noticeable confusion between the difference between stretching and warm-up among clients. Stretching alone is not a warm-up; the warm-up must be active and dynamic to prepare the muscles for the forces involved in the particular sporting activity. Stretching is only one component of the warm-up.
Warm-ups should include:
• General aerobic exercise like jogging.
• Sport-specific exercise and drills that are likely to be performed during the training session or game e.g. a footballer can perform passing drills.
• Flexibility exercises or stretching. There is now less emphasis on static stretching during a warm-up. Instead, dynamic stretches should be performed to move the muscle groups through the full range of movement required in the activity being performed.
Lets look at two common pre sport warm up that are very common in Ireland one for football and one for running (any client’s taking part in the Beach Bog Run or the Hope and Dream 10, this is for you!)
An example of a football specific pre-match warm up:
1. Light running (2 min)
2. Run throughs: forwards, backwards and sideways gradually increasing speed (2 min)
3. Dribbling and passing drills (2-3 min)
4. Dynamic stretching: including high knees, cross overs, heel kicks, walking lunges, and leg swings (controlled and not ballistic) (2 min)
5. Mini game situation drills (2-3 min)
6. Individual time: for players to address any areas of the warm up that they feel may need additional time.
The Perfect Warm up for Running
The ideal general warm-up for fast running is slow running. There is a degree of specificity in jogging that makes it the ideal way to begin your warm-up for a running race or workout.
It takes at least 10 minutes to do the job; 30 seconds of nervous jogging in place behind the start line won’t cut it!
Walking Lunge Warm Up Exercise
Elite runners typically jog for 20-25 minutes before races. That’s can seem too much for many leisure runners, who may begin to feel the first hints of fatigue after 25 minutes of jogging so it depends on the level that you are training and performing at.
After you complete your jog, it’s time for your specific warm-up. This entails repetitive movements that take your major joints through a full range of motion. Start with gentler movements and work toward ballistic actions.
Here’s a suggested sequence each to be done for 20 secs:
1. Forward/backward arms swings
2. Side-to-side trunk rotations with arms extended outward
3. Walking lunges
4. Forward/backward leg swings
5. Side-to-side leg swings
6. Hopping on the spot with locked knees
7. Jogging forward while rotating hips from left to right
8. Jogging on the spot with high knees
9. Jogging on the spot with buttock kicks
Finally, cap off your specific warm-up with a set of strides. Run for 20 seconds at race pace or at the pace you’re targeting in the workout. Stop, walk for 20 seconds, turn around, and run 20 seconds again at race/workout pace. Complete four of these 20-second strides. Naturally, this is as specific as a warm-up can get.
Strides serve the threefold purpose of setting your target race or workout pace, completing the neuro-muscular priming process, and making the start of the workout or race less psychologically shocking.
Run your strides as close to the start of the race or workout as possible. Ideally, you’ll finish your last stride 30 seconds before the gun goes off.
Have fun and good luck!
Troubled by a Recurrent Sports Injury?
If you are suffering recurrent or chronic injuries related to your sport whether it is hamstring, ITB or calf pain or a combination of several problems, we are here to help you. Our clinical team has extensive experience in the physical assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries backed by a onsite facility that includes x ray and state of the art computerised gait scanning for the better analysis of problems related to the way an individual walks or runs. This technology also allows us to produce custom made orthotics for our clients.
For your convenience all of our Gorey Family Chiropractic team are registered with VHI, Aviva and Laya Healthcare allowing clients claim reimbursement from a wide range of private healthcare Insurance providers.
Opening hours Mon 8-7, Tues 9-5, Wed 8-7, Thurs 9-5, Frid 8-7
Tel: 053 94 83338 or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org