At my practice I often find that patients and clients are not performing a sufficient dynamic warm-up prior to sports training and games. Typically the reasons for this are not knowing how to perform a correct warm-up or not having enough time. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good warm-up program! A dynamic warm-up, when performed correctly, can improve sports performance and reduce your risk of injury. Research has suggested that a dynamic warm-up improves power, strength, muscular endurance, anaerobic capacity, speed and agility1,2. Further, research has demonstrated a correlation between performing a dynamic warm-up and a reduction in injuries3,4.
What is the difference between a dynamic warm-up and static stretching? Simply put, a dynamic warm-up involves constant movement. All stretches are performed while dynamically moving through space. A dynamic warm-up should be performed before engaging in sports because it allows you to stretch your muscles while simultaneously preparing the body to be explosive and powerful. Static stretches on the other hand are performed in a static position that is held for about 30 seconds. Static stretching is best performed when you are finished training or competing because it allows you to stretch and gain mobility while simultaneously relaxing the body.
A good dynamic warm-up takes at least 10 minutes to perform and you should be breaking a sweat by the end of your warm-up. This warm-up needs to be performed as close to starting your sport as possible so that your body doesn’t cool back down before starting. Your dynamic warm-up should begin with activities to raise your heart rate and body temperature. Some examples are jogging, jumping rope, skipping, side shuffles and Carioca. You can choose activities that work best for your body and available space. This is followed by a series of dynamic stretches aimed at mobilizing each part of the body. Examples of dynamic stretches include high kicks, knee to chest walks, lateral lunge with a twist and arm circles. You can finish your dynamic warm-up with sports specific preparation drills.
I always remind my clients that performing a proper dynamic warm-up only takes 10 minutes and the benefits to their training, sports performance and overall health is so great. You spend hours every day training and adding a dynamic warm-up is a simple addition to your training program that can help take your training and performance to the next level!
I recommend professional instruction when implementing a dynamic warm-up program to insure that you are performing exercises with the correct technique. If you are in the Detroit area you can check out my website: www.bryceb11.sg-host.com. I offer health and wellness services that include instruction of a sports specific dynamic warm-up. If you aren’t in the Detroit area then I recommend reaching out to your local sports physical therapists, athletic trainers or strength & conditioning specialists.
Look for my upcoming article: “Foam rolling for the Athlete”. Foam rolling is a great tool that can be included in your dynamic warm-up program and can be utilized post-training to enhance your static stretching and recovery routine.
- Herman SL, Smith DT. Four-Week Dynamic Stretching Warm-up Intervention Elicits Longer-Term Performance Benefits. J of Strength & Conditioning Research 2008; 22 (4): 1286-1297.
- McCrary MJ, Ackermann BJ, Halaki M. A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury. British J of Sports Medicine2015; 49 (14): 935-942.
- Al Attar WS et. al. How effective are F-MARC injury prevention programs for soccer players? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 2016; 46 (2): 205-217.
- Soligard T et. al. Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2008; 337:a2469.