Quick Functional Warm Up
Updated: Nov 6, 2019
We've all seen that person at the gym in the corner with the headband. You know that guy who spends 45 minutes warming up by stretching his hamstring repeatedly and flailing his arm back and forth.
The truth is the research is still out on what an appropriate warm up looks like. We have seen that static stretching or holding one position offer no real benefit to sports performance and may hinder attributes like strength and power. What we do know is warming up \helps gradually increase heart rate, increase blood supply to working muscles, and encourage movement of synovial fluid surrounding our joints. All which may be of benefit during exercise.
The best warm up consist of a few simple dynamic movements gradually progressing into more intense sport specific movements. Below is an example of three exercises that should be part of your warm up routine:
1. Lunge with Rotation
Start with feet pointing forward and arms held straight out in front of you, palms touching each other. Second extend one foot in front of you to progress into a lung position. While maintaining and a tight core and contracting your abs in the lunge position, rotate toward the leg that is in front and back to center. Start out with a distance of 10-15 feet and repeat 5 times, increasing your speed each round. This exercise helps stretch out chronically tight hip flexors and encourage rotation throughout the thoracic spine.
2. Donkey Kick
No, you won't have to be cruel to animals. For this exercise, you can start out on a mat on hands and knees. Remember to stack the hip over the knee and shoulder over the wrist. Engage your core and focus on squeezing your "butt" to extend your hip behind you. It is important to concentrate on bringing your leg and hip straight back and not out to the side to get maximum benefit. Repeat 8 times on each side for 4 sets. Doing the donkey kick exercise encourages hip extension and activates the gluteus muscles important for stabilizing the low back and hips during exercise.
3. Jump Rope
This one's easy. Aim for 3-5 minutes of continuous moderately paced jump roping. Don't have a jump rope ? No problem, just use an imaginary rope and aim for the same goal.
Jump roping is a great way to warm up the shoulders, increase the heart rate, and prepare the spine and joints for repetitive impact during sport.
Dr, David Satterfield, Chiropractor