With winter around the corner we will talk about the warm-up, its effects, importance, and why it shouldn’t be neglected.
Quite often the warm-up is viewed as the boring part of the training/activity, and it usually ends up being skipped or poorly done. It is actually essential because it prepares our bodies for main activities/movements and increases performance while also reducing the risk of injury.
The majority of the benefits of warm-up are related to temperature-dependent physiological processes. An elevation in body temperature increases blood flow, sensitivity of nerve receptors and speed of nervous impulses (among other). Cold muscles with low blood saturation are more susceptible to injury or damage then warm muscles.The warm-up should be structured in such a way that that the individual experiences an increase in muscle temperature, but avoids getting fatigued and exhausted. The intensity of the warm up should be tailored to meet the needs and abilities of the individual.
For example, a poorly conditioned athlete will not require the same intensity or duration of warm-up as the well conditioned athlete to achieve the same elevation in muscle temperature.
We can classify the warm up as general and specific.
General warm up increases overall body temperature through active movements of the major muscle groups. It involves light activities like jogging, rope skipping, cycling or any group games that would increase our overall body temperature and prepare us for more demanding tasks. It doesn’t necessarily need to be linked with the movement that is going to be performed in our actual workout. The Intensity and duration of general warm up is more individual, so usually a light or mild sweating without fatigue is a reliable indicator of an adequate increase in muscle temperature.
The specific warm up utilizes activities and stretches that are closely linked with the ( actual activity that is going to be performed in our) main part of the workout. It mimics the activity that is going to be performed, with less intensity.
Since parkour involves various movements, an example of specific warm up would contain low intensity variations of jumps, vaults, hangs etc. Athletic drills involving hops, lunges, and jumps will give us a positive transfer to movements most usually performed in parkour training like strides, running or standing precisions.
Your warm up should transition from general to specific, and then to the actual activity. It is important to note that maintaining good flexibility can also aid in injury prevention. Specificity is the key word here, as we mostly stretch our muscles dynamically in parkour training, hence dynamic stretches should be performed prior to the activity, usually after general warm up.
If you follow these simple rules your training will not only be more effective, but long lasting as well.