Sunday, April 20, 2008

Warm-up for Sports

Many coaches claim to use a dynamic warm-up, but in fact, it's just a series of poorly taught, poorly executed drills that aren't set up with any rhyme or reason. Although better than only using the static stretch warm-up, this is still a terrible way to prepare your team to run as hard and fast as they can.

Here are some of the many benefits to the athletes I train, that I attribute to our implementation of a dynamic warm up:

- Muscle strains and pulls have been almost completely eliminated because entire muscle groups have been activated through various progressive movements.

- More points and better marks are being scored earlier in competitions because the players aren't spending the early part of the game or meet trying to get loose.

- Players are running at faster speeds, making sharper cuts and exploding off the line with ease, again, because they're fully warmed up before they have to start moving at full speed.

- Late-season and post-season productivity has increased significantly. Players aren't getting burnt out at the end of the season because, among other things, they're avoiding the muscular and cellular trauma that comes with forcing cold muscles to move at speeds they aren't ready for.

Here's a quick analogy to prove my point...

When you start your vehicle on a cold morning, what do you do?

You let it warm up for a few minutes before trying to drive it. Otherwise, acceleration is terrible and you risk seriously damaging your engine because oil and other fluids haven't had the chance to heat up parts that make your car run efficiently.

Well, think of your football players like a car.

If you try to get them to run at full speed before they are properly warmed up, their acceleration will be terrible and you risk a serious muscle pull or tears because blood hasn't had a chance to heat up the muscles that allow the athlete to run quickly and efficiently.

Does that make sense?

The most glaring evidence I have in support of a good warmup is the behavior of the athletes that I coach.

They'll come to me from their sports having primarily used static stretching to warm up. If they did do some type of movement based, dynamic warm up, it was sloppy and followed no particular pattern.

After working with me, not only do they run much faster and feel better, but they couldn't imagine warming up any other way! When I go watch their competitions, I see them out there with their teammates using my warm-up!

Listen, the warm up doesn't have to be complicated. It just has to follow a few basic premises.

But before I list them I will say this...

In my experience, if you've been using static stretching at the beginning of practice, you shouldn't just stop cold turkey. Most players have been doing this at the start of every practice, for their entire lives.

It's hardwired into their heads that they need to do it to warmup properly, even though it is not true. Therefore, I don't cut it out completely. Instead, I'll give them 5 minutes to stretch out alone before own before we start our full warm up. This way they feel like they got a 'pre-stretch' and it gives them a chance to see what their tight spots are.

For more sports training information, on audio, go now to:

Sports Training Interviews

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