Secrets From The Track – Effective Warm-up.P3

Designing a warm up – What we are including/excluding

There are a few things to consider when designing a warm up and deciding what exercises or type of warm up is most suitable. Two key factors are the demands of the sport and the needs of the athlete.

The easiest, most basic way to assess the athlete’s needs is to look at their current ability level. Novice athletes will need more time to improve their general motor control and coordination. A general warm up may be more beneficial to them to improve overall posture and movement behaviours. Within this general warm up it may be necessary to include some self myofascial release (foam rolling), some flexibility and mobilisation exercises specifically for identified overactive/ short/ tight muscle. This would then be followed by some of the basic exercises covered in the early stages of our video posts. Our focus might even be to just get the athlete into the correct shapes. A general warm up can also be turned into a workout for novice athletes simply by increasing the volume, working a few sets of each exercise.

More advanced athletes who have a high level of motor control who have mastered good movement patterns will require the more specific exercises/ drills to challenge them and enable them to feel a change within their muscles to know they are prepared to perform better. As they will have a high level of functional flexibility it may not be as beneficial for them to use self myofascial release and flexibility as it would be for them to go through some more complex specific movement patterns and high intensity drills. This will bring into account the demands of the sport what patterns does the athlete need during their sport (for example, triple extension, overhead strength, hip hinges, cutting/ change of direction). Here the athletes know the correct shapes to be in so ramp up the intensity and challenge their abilities at high speed.