Many of the athletes I see have some sort of warm up they do before a game. Less of those athletes do a similar warm up before a workout. And some don’t even have their own warm up routine. An effective warm up should include exercises to activate the muscle groups necessary for the work to follow. A personalized warm up that targets the “weaker” muscles can greatly increase speed, agility and power as well as ward off fatigue and injury.
Incorporating a warm up specific to individual needs, will enhance performance and can help prevent overuse injuries. For example, if an athlete is dominant in their quadriceps, an effective warm up should include exercises such as hip bridges, single leg squats and toe reaches to “wake up” the hamstrings and gluteus medius.
Foam rolling is a self myofascial release technique that has been used for some time in professional sports and is now becoming more main stream. There is some debate about when it’s most effective – before the warm up or after the workout. Foam rolling has benefits either way. Prior to the warm up, longer strokes increases blood flow to the muscles and directed pressure can release knots. Rolling after the workout may help muscles recover and provide some relief from soreness.
A trained professional can help identify muscle imbalances and recruitment deficiencies to design a personalized warm up routine for enhanced performance and injury prevention.
Pictured: Professional hockey players Kyle Kraemer, Brandon Bollig and Pat Maroon with their Pilates circles, a P4P warm up essential.