5 Top tips for warming up from an Olympian
1) From my background as an Olympic athlete and now coach and personal trainer, I know how important it is to warm up properly before a workout.
The main purpose of a warm-up is to provide gradual increase in activity to activate required energy systems, major joints and muscles. Stimulation of the CNS (central nervous system) prepares the body both physiologically & psychologically. My first top-tip therefore is to make sure you do it!
This involves arriving early for your session or allowing adequate time within your exercise plan.
2) It is important to stay warm during your warm up as this helps your muscles adapt to the increased demands being made on them, by increasing blood flow. I therefore advise you wear an extra layer or two of clothing during your warm up, according to the season.
This is especially relevant when training outdoors. I also recommend using Deep Heat spray, or the new Deep Heat Muscle massage Roll on Relief to help warm up muscles in anticipation of them becoming cold.
The new Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll on Lotion helps to increase blood flow and flexibility, and therefore limit soreness and tightness of the muscle. This helps me to stay warm before competitions.
3) Your warm-up should be dynamic in nature and comprise activity-related movements.
This helps to increase the range of movement around the joints and reduces the risk of muscle damage. It has been shown that dynamic movements are much more effective than the traditional static stretches.
4) A warm-up should not only increase localised blood flow to muscles-it should prepare your entire cardiovascular system for exercise. I advise a gradual increase in your heart rate through a gentle increase in tempo throughout your warm-up.
This helps to ensure that enough blood, and therefore oxygen is being delivered to your muscles for the demands of the planned exercise, and the body is prepared for sudden movements or increases in intensity.
5) The warm-up is also a good opportunity for an individual to prepare themselves mentally for the game or activity ahead, and for a team to work together prior to the start of a game. Warm-ups can also be used to practice skills and team drills. Take time during your warm-up to visualise what you will be doing during your session and focus on how you will tackle any particular foreseeable challenges, such as a steep hill climb, or a close competitor!