How to warmup before training
Warming up before performing physical activity has been drilled into out minds since we started physical education. We would do a slow jog around the field and then perform static stretching afterwards. Was this the correct way to warmup? How should you warmup?
Although it is considered essential to many individuals, the science supporting warmups is lacking. This is due to a lot of the studies have confounding variables and not being controlled. It has been shown, however, that active warmups (like doing a low intensity jog) improves short-term performances (an exercise that is less than 10 seconds). If the warmup is performed to close to the short-term performance or is too intense, it might in fact hinder performance. Furthermore, active warmups have also been shown to improve performance of a moderate duration (10 seconds to 5 minutes). Active warmups aid in both aerobic and anaerobic activity. These improvements to performance are said to be negligible in advanced athletes.
Does stretching help?
Whilst it is proven that stretching joints does increase range of motion and poor joint range of motion is implicated in injuries, it has yet to be shown to add any extra benefit to an active warmup. But there is still data suggesting that Achilles’s tendon, plantar fascia, and hamstring tendons, and stretching programs for all the major body joints do reduce the frequency of injuries. Therefore, data is mixed, and I would suggest that stretching should be performed as a precautionary method.
Therefore, data is limited and mixed but as a precautionary method I would suggest 10 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity followed stretching of the whole body (specifically major joints). Static stretched have been recommended to be held for 10 to 30 seconds for 4 repetitions of each joint.
In conclusion, one should perform both active warmups and stretching to reduce the risk of injury and possibly improve performance.