There is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down will improve an athlete's level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before training or competition. As a result, the coach must encourage the athlete to regard the warm up and cool down as an essential part of both the training session and competition itself.
Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness.
Warming up should at least consist of the following:
Dynamic stretches are more appropriate to the warm up as they help reduce muscle stiffness. Static exercises do not reduce muscle stiffness.
What are the benefits of a warm up?
Performance may be improved, as an appropriate warm up will result in an:
- Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
- Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
- Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
- Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
- Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
Warming down should consist of the following:
- 5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking - decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles
- 5 to 10 minutes static stretching exercises- decrease body temperature, remove waste products from the working muscles and to increase range of movement.
Static stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax and increase their range of movement.
What are the benefits of a cool down?
An appropriate cool down will:
- aid in the dissipation of waste products - including lactic acid
- reduce the potential for muscle soreness
- reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
- reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood
allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate