With the weather warming up and we move into spring, there are a lot of sports seasons that are gearing up for the year. Summer time is one of the most popular times for competitive sports such as running, motocross (my preferred sport), tennis, baseball, and cycling. And with that often comes quite a few sports injuries or even recurrent sports injuries. Athletes put a lot of time, energy and money into their sport of choice and the last thing that you want to happen is to end up injured and unable to participate!
Making sure that you are incorporating a sport specific, dynamic warm-up will help you minimize the risk for a sports injury. A sport-specific warm-up allows for the correct muscle activation patterns to warm up that you use during your sport. This gets the muscles warmed up more effectively, preps them to start working, and optimizes performance. As a disclaimer, a dynamic warm-up is best when tailored to the specific sport so if you are serious about staying healthy and want to optimize performance, contact us to have one made for you. Otherwise, here are some general exercises that are good for almost every sport as part of the warm-up.
What is a dynamic warm-up? It consists of a series of moves that are sport specific to help increase blood flow to the muscles, increase mobility, and begin activating the muscles that are specific to what you plan to do next. For example, a runner will want to focus on lower body and core more than upper body since those are the muscles that will be working the most during running. Dynamic means that you are actively doing some type of exercise rather than static stretching. It also helps an athlete warm-up that needs a lot of power for their sport since static stretching can decrease power output.
Why do one? Dynamic warm-ups are more effective than static stretching for increasing mobility and for activating the muscles. This helps decrease the risk of injury because the muscles are being “pre-activated” in order to begin firing correctly. A lot of injuries are in part due to an improper alignment so having the muscles working optimally will assist in better alignment and ultimately decreased risk for injury.
Examples of some dynamic warm-up exercises:
- Squat to stand: Bend down to the floor keeping your legs straight then bend the knees so you lower into a squat. Stand up from this position and repeat 10 times.
- Frankenstein walk: Walk forward while you kick your leg up towards your hands in a controlled manner and also keeping the leg straight. Do 10 times on each leg.
Inchworm: Start by touching the ground by keeping your legs straight. Walk your hands out into a plank position then begin walking your feet up towards your hands all while keeping the legs straight. Repeat 10 times.
If you want to make sure that you have a great sports season this summer and avoid any sports injuries, contact us to take advantage of a FREE 30 minute consultation to assess any imbalances, impairments, and issues that would put you at risk for injury. PS – we can also do this virtually for those that aren’t local to the Milwaukee area.