Correct warm up exercises can decrease muscle tension, reduce injury risk and increase player performance by increasing blood flow to the muscles. An essential element in the pre-game or pre-training routine, warming up for 10 to 15 minutes can mean the difference between losing players out injured and playing with a full side.
Warm up also has other benefits for your team such as settling nerves and psychologically preparing the players for the game ahead. Pre-game is an important time for team morale, encouraging positive energy between players and casually discussing the game ahead can prime the team for the coming match. This mental preparation helps to clear the mind, increase focus and build concentration.
Benefits of a good warm up:
- Enhanced range of joint motion
- Elevated body temperature – improves muscle elasticity, reducing strains
- Facilitates a rise in muscle temperature – allowing muscles to contract hard and relax fast increasing speed and strength
- Prepares the body for the specific types of movements related to your sport
- Raises heart rate and breathing in readiness for the game
- Primes your nerve to muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
- Reduces incidence of injury during the game
As we have mentioned in a previous blog (Stretching – Should we be doing it?) static stretching is not the best way to prepare your body for exercise. Starting with a gentle sports related exercise, walk or light jog is a better way to begin your warm up as it gently increases your heart rate and breathing while increasing the temperature of your muscles.