Fitness: Warm Ups Can Chill Out the Perfomance
The warm ups are supposed to increase body temperature and blood flow so the muscles and surrounding joints become more responsive and prepared for physical activity. Although there’s a neurological element to warm-ups, most research focuses on the physiological aspects of preparing the body for a match or workout.
Keep in mind that different athletes and different sports have different demands. A gymnast doesn’t warm up the same way as a track athlete. A soccer player’s warm-up will be different from a football player’s pre-game routine. Understanding the demands of a particular sport is an important step in designing an effective warm-up.
What most teams haven’t picked up on, however, is that warm-ups, which normally last 20 to 30 minutes, can be just as effective in about half that amount of time. In fact, some research has shown that lengthy warm-ups can be detrimental to performance. In three of the studies reviewed, jumping, sprinting and agility performance after a 20-minute warm-up lagged behind the performance markers obtained after a 12-minute, small-sided game. Another study noted that a 23-minute warm-up performed by a professional team resulted in a four to six percent decrease in explosive tasks, compared to pre-game activities that took less time. This suggests there’s a fine line between getting the body primed for a match and going into the game already feeling fatigued.
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