Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lets Warm Up

Warm-up can be one of the most controversial actives for any athlete or team. I want to talk about some of the concepts and maybe give some feedback on what I have seen work.
You open any textbook or training book and they will give you the “text book” answer to warming up. You need to jog or ride a bike for 5-10 minutes then you need to do 15 to 20 minute dynamic warm-up routine. Even though you might not see the dynamic routine in every warm program the point is you need 15-20 minutes to get ready. I believe in the dynamic routine and have been using it for some 12 or more years now, but we will talk about that later.
I have been working with coaches for 15 years and know that 30 minutes to just warm-up is never going to cut it, one, and the coach does not have that much time and two the athletes will not stay that focused to complete. We need to be more practical and accommodating to the situations. If a coach in high school only has 2.5 hours a day to work with his players do you think he is going to spend a half hour getting ready. Do you think pro players want to get to the park 30 minutes early so they can warm-up for drills and then warm-up for the game as well. Any strength coach that says yes is just fooling them selves. I’ve been there and done that from the pro level to the little league level. In reality you might have 15 minutes and on a good day 20 minutes, so how do you get them ready.
Let’s break it down practically:
1) General Warm up:
a. Jog around the field 1 lap. (1.5 min)

2) General Specific: dynamic 15-20 yards
a. Walking side shuffle (45 seconds)
b. Walking carioca (45 seconds)
c. Walking high knee (45 seconds)
d. Walking hurdles (45 seconds)
e. Side shuffle 50% (45 seconds)
f. Carioca 50% (45 seconds)
g. High knees (45 seconds)
h. Butt kicks (45 seconds)

3) General Specific: Stationary dynamic
a. Touch and reach
b. Diagonal touch and reach
c. Windmills
d. Rotation and twist
e. Push-ups
f. Overhead claps
g. 90-90 shoulder rotation

4) General Specific: High Speed
a. 30 Yard sprint 75% (45 seconds)
b. High skip (45 seconds)
c. Secondary steel 75% (45 seconds)
d. Sprint (45 seconds)

5) Sport specific: hitting or throwing
a. This is the time the players go through a throwing program or hitting prep program. This should take the players 10-15 minutes to complete.

This warm-up is complete in 30 minutes but has the players ready to either practice or play in a game. If you only complete the general warm-up in 30 minutes they still need to throw or hit, we are now out 45 minutes that’s 1/3 of the practice time spent on just getting ready. If you cut the whole prep into 30 minutes that’s only 1/5 of practice time.
As strength coaches or athletic trainers if you want to see the warm-up more productive and really get that internal temp up then try some variation of this, it is high paced and makes the players work. They will really be ready to play both mentally and physically. For coaches, the player will be ready and you have given them a true warm-up not the old throw the balls and bats out and let’s play.
As a note, I said try a variation of this. This is not the end all to warm-ups, and changes should be made all the time. Try different exercises and orders, the players will not get bored with the routine and again, will be more productive. Play with the idea and times.

Brian Niswender MA, CSCS

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