Dynamic Warm Up
By Osteopath Ella Meehan
Whether you’re a full time athlete or weekend warrior, knowing how to prepare your body for exercise to avoid injury and perform at your best is important. Numerous studies have found the traditional means of warming up via static stretching may not be the key to preventing injuries and enhancing our athletic performance. Emerging research demonstrates a dynamic warm up can be more effective in enhancing performance and preventing injury.
Static stretching refers to the sustained elongation of muscles. Dynamic warm up refers to activities whereby motion and momentum are used to promote blood flow, joint movement, and muscle extensibility.
Research has shown dynamic warm ups improve lower limb explosiveness which is important in activities that require jumping and sprinting. Further, some research has shown static stretching before explosive physical activity can significantly worsen the ability of the person to perform the
task to the best of their abilities.
Research suggests dynamic warm ups help elevate muscle and core temperature resulting in decreased stiffness of joints and connective tissue, as well as increasing anaerobic metabolism, circulation, and nerve conduction. These changes in the body’s state have consequently shown improvements in some key performance markers such as run time, throw distance, lower limb power, and vertical jump height.
A typical dynamic warm up involves dynamic stretching, agility and jumping activities, and specific motor pattern movements that complement the activity the person is striving to warm up for (e.g. soccer drills pre-game are intended to prepare the body’s muscles, joints and nervous
system for the actual game).
Try these 5 dynamic warm up exercises before your next work out:
1. Hip circles
If needed, hold on to a bench. Stand on one leg and circle one hip out to the side.
Perform 20 circles one way, reverse it for another 20, then switch to the other leg.
Progressively increase the size of the circle as you start to feel more flexible.
2. Arm circles
Standing, hold arms out to the side at shoulder height with the palms facing down.
Gently perform 20 circles in each direction. Progressively increase the size of the circle as you start to feel more flexible.
3. High stepping
Stand tall with legs hip-width apart. Bring one leg up to the chest, holding it with one or two hands (depending if you’re also holding a wall for support). Pause holding that knee. Then let it down with control and switch to the other side. Repeat 6 times each side.
4. Heel-to-toe walk
Place your left heel in front of the right toes. Peel the back heel (right foot) off the floor
slowly as if going onto tippy toes. Then, with control, place the right heel in front of the
left toes. Repeat for 10 steps.
5. Lunges with a twist
Take a wide split stance and lower into a lunge, bending the front knee and hip slowly and keeping the torso upright. Reach arms high over head. If it is your left leg in front, then twist your torso to the left gently, allowing the arms to float down to a T shape. Hold for a moment then turn the torso to the centre and arms up over head. Repeat 5 times each side.
If you’re unsure about how to warm up in a way that suits your body and your exercise goals, book in with one of our physiotherapists or osteopaths for an assessment and some guidance! Call 5254 2668 or book online!