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The Importance Of Warming Up Before Sport

The Importance of Warming Up Before Sport

As the weather gets colder, the importance of warming up before training and competition in our winter sports season is increasingly important. The following blog discusses why a good warm up is important and how you can implement a good warm up into your chosen sport or activity.


Why Warm Up?

1) Enhanced Performance

Warming up is good for your athletic performance. A good warm up dilates your blood vessels so that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen and can work more efficiently during sport. There is a higher demand for oxygen and blood flow to your muscles while exercising so it is important to make oxygen more available through warm up activity.

2) Injury Prevention

Warming up is important for preparing your body for exercise as well as preventing injury. A good warm up can help loosen up your muscles to ease stress on muscles, tendons and joints and reduce your risk of injury. Warming up can improve joint position sense, enhance joint stability and develop protective joint reflexes to help prevent lower limb injury.

3) Mental Preparation

In addition to the physiological benefits, warming up can be useful in mentally preparing athletes for participation in sport and exercise. It helps your brain to focus on your activity which can carry over into training or competition to help improve technique, skill and coordination.


How to Warm Up?

The RAMP framework is a simple template that can help you construct a warm up that is specific to your activity or sport.

R – RAISE your body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate. This helps to increase blood flow to working muscles, improve muscle elasticity and neural activation.

A – ACTIVATE and engage the main muscle groups required for the upcoming session.

M – MOBILISE the key joints by focusing on movement patterns that will be used during the upcoming session.

P – POTENTIATE, gradually increase intensity to reach the level of intensity that will be produced during the exercise or sport that your are about to complete.


Some key things that you can do in your warm up to help optimise your performance are:

  • Stretching to improve muscle flexibility and ease the stress on joints and tendons.
  • Warm up for at least 5-10 minutes, longer if the activity is more intense.
  • Use a combination of stretching, strengthening, balance, landing techniques and sport-specific agility drills to optimise your warm-up.

How can a physiotherapist help you?

If you are unsure of the best approach to warming up for your sport, a physiotherapist can be useful helping you apply the RAMP framework to your specific sport or activity. A physiotherapist is able to help you determine which key muscle groups and joints need to be activated and mobilised as well as providing you with some sport specific warm up ideas


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