The terms ‘stretching’ and ‘warmup’ are often used interchangeably, however they are not necessarily the same thing. Stretching and warming up both serve their own purpose in any exercise regime. In my previous blog, I highlighted the importance of stretching and clarified that stretching should be done after exercise and physical activity. Before exercise, mobilising the joints and performing a dynamic warm up is where you should start.
When in doubt just remember MES:
According to former NSW State of Origin player David Williams:
“Warming up the muscles and mobilising your joints before any strenuous physical activity or exercise, is vital for the body to move through its full range efficiently and effectively whilst greatly lowering the risk of injury.”David Williams aka Wolfman
A mobilisation technique or ‘dynamic warmup’ involves easing your joints into full range of motion. This prepares the muscles for movement and wakes up the body’s nervous system. By mimicking movements that you are about to perform in your work out, you are gradually increasing flexibility and blood flow to the areas that will be moving in your sport or activity.
Focus on major muscle groups and the muscles used most in your activity. For example, if you are about to go for a run, you should focus on mobilising your hips, knees, and ankles. If you are a swimmer, you should mobilise your upper back, neck, and shoulders.
Things to Remember
When doing a dynamic warm up, remember to focus on symmetry. Always do equal amounts of movement on both sides of the body.
Start at a low level of movement and then slowly increase intensity until your joints and muscles feel ready to go.
Remember that some joints will have more range of motion than others. Injuries, ageing, and even genes can restrict some of our joints, so don’t try and force a joint past its natural range.
Williams, D., 2021. Performance Coach [Interview] (28th June 2021).
Taylor, K.-L., Sheppard, J. M., Lee, H. & Plummer, N., 2009. Negative effect of static stretching restored when combined with a sport specific warm-up component. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 12(6), pp. 657-661.
Published by Sydney LaVine June 29 2021