Sports Performance Warm-Up for Preventing Injuries

February 5, 2013 | Z Altug

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Did you know that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM 2010) recommends a minimum of a five- to 10-minute warm-up before exercise? What your warm-up consists of should be based on your individual goals and needs, but you'll derive the following benefits:

  • Eases you into your exercise session
  • Prepares you for movement
  • Helps prevent injury

The following warm-up is one I have used for years with my clients.

Sports Performance Warm-Up

Aerobic warm-up

Walk, bike or hike, starting at low intensity and gradually increasing the intensity. Afterwards, perform the following muscle and joint mobility exercises to get ready to work out or compete:

Multidirectional Lunges

Set/Reps: 5 on each side

Purpose: Warm up the hips and knees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Step forward with your right foot and return to starting position
  • Step forward diagonally and return to starting position
  • Step sideways to the right and return to starting position
  • Repeat the entire three-step sequence on the left

Foot Rocker

Sets/Reps: perform 10 repetitions

Purpose: Warm up the ankles and knees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend both knees partially, allowing your heels to lift slightly
  • Straighten both legs, allowing your toes to lift slightly

Slow Motion Run

Sets/Reps: Repeat "running in place" sequence 10 times with the right foot on the ground and then 10 times with the left foot on the ground.

Purpose: Warm up the core

  • Stand on your right leg with your left arm by your hip and your left knee above your hip
  • Hold your right hand at shoulder height. You should look like you are sprinting
  • Lower your left foot and right hand toward the ground while your left arm goes up

Arm Raise Lunge

Sets/Reps: perform five reps on each side

Purpose: Warm up the hips and core

  • Lunge forward with your right leg while raising both arms overhead
  • Return to standing position and repeat a lunge with the left leg

Arm Curl to Overhead Reach

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the arms and shoulders

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Curl both arms up and raise them overhead
  • Return to starting position with both arms down by your sides

Diagonal Overhead Reach

Sets/Reps: perform five reps on each side

Purpose: Warm up the core and trunk

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Reach overhead and then diagonally across your body with your right hand
  • Repeat with your left arm

Shoulder Circles

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the shoulders

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Slowly roll your shoulders up and back

Hand Behind Back to Hand Behind Head

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the shoulders

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bring both hands behind your back
  • Slowly raising both arms overhead and placing them behind your head

All-Fours Lumber Rocker

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the core, hips, and knees

  • Start in a hands and knees position
  • Slowly raise your lower back up
  • Gently lower your back into an arch

All Fours to Straight Heel Stretch

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the core, hips, and knees

  • Start in a hands and knees position
  • Slowly sit toward your heels, keeping your hands in front of your shoulders
  • Return to the all-fours position

All Fours to Diagonal Heel Stretch

Sets/Reps: perform five reps with your hands to the right side and five reps with your hands to the left side

Purpose: Warm up the core, hips, and knees

  • Start in a hands and knees position with both hands to the right side
  • Slowly sit toward your heels
  • Return to the all-fours position
Looking for more warm-ups to start your workout or practice? Check out these articles:

References

Abbott AA. "Cardiac arrest litigations." ACSM Health & Fitness Journal. 2013;17(1):31-34.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSMa). ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010.

Topics: WARM-UP
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
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