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A warm up and warm down routine to prevent injury with returning to sport

Warm Ups

An area that is somewhat shrouded in confusion in the health, sport, and fitness industry, is the warm-up. I think if you ask anyone on the street, they’d have a vague understanding of what a warm-up is, and why we potentially should include one, and yet fundamental principles and structures, are probably grasped by the small minority. Varying from a brief jog and some star jumps, to a 20minute routine of intricate movement patterns, take a trip to your local training facility and you’ll see the full spectrum.

The following information has been pieced together to give you a usable structure that can be specifically applied to any sporting/training scenario; it can be lengthened, shortened, progressed, and regressed accordingly, but stick to the principles below and you can unlock better performance

Most athletes spend a incredibly large amount of time warming up, and so not only should it be seen as an opportunity for the following session, but it can absolutely contribute to the aggregation of meaningful improvements over a longer frame of time. 3 sessions per week, each with a 15minute warm- up window, equates to 39 hours a year spent warming up…

Warm-Up Structure

So, how do we warm up? The video series provided outlines the RAMP warm-up structure, first thrusted into use by renowned coach, Ian Jeffreys. The acronym RAMP, stands for Raise, Activate, Mobilise, and Potentiate. If we tick each of these boxes within the technical, tactical, and logistical framework our performance throws at us, then we can ensure we put ourselves in the best position possible when it comes to performing, whether that be in competition, or in training

Raise – the first part of our warm-up is implemented to Raise key parameters. Blood flow, core & muscle temperature, elasticity of the tissue, and quality of neural activation and conduction, can all be raised gradually via the implementation of low intensity movements. This can be isolated to one movement (light jogging), or a series of locomotive patterns sequenced together, depending on the setting and time constraints. We can also use this time (along with the rest of the warm up) to develop skill patterns and physical literacy through low intensity movement.

Activate – It’s important that we up-regulate certain tissues and muscles to ensure they are prepared for the following demands. This may look like fundamental movement patterns (such as squats, lunges etc) or more targeted work such as bridging and low level isometrics. Think of this as targeting specific muscle groups that are going to be required to work.

Mobilise – Then comes mobilising. So as previously we were concerned with tissues, now we’re addressing joints. Ensuring that we expose ourselves to positions and ranges of motion that are going to be expected of us once performance starts. It’s important to note that these sections need not be exclusive of each other. A full range squat for example, would serve the requirements to activate, and to mobilise; if done consecutively will help raise, and if done with maximum effort, can also contribute to the final portion; potentiate.

Potentiate – Think of this as the final rehearsal. We want to prepare the body for the intensity of efforts required in the following activity. Low volume jumps, bounds, hops, and accelerations may be implemented in an attempt to give the engine one final rev.