Does Your Warm-Up Stack Up

Most everyone either warms-up or thinks after starting whatever activity they do that they should have warmed-up. The question is….how effective is your warm up? Or would it be if you did one?

Let's go over a little bit of the current research about stretching to start since so many include it in their warm-up. Behm and others (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; Aug. 2004) found that stretching actually impairs balance and reaction/movement time of the legs. Obviously we don't want this during a demanding activity. Other studies have suggested that too much focus is placed on stretching and that it could actually create joint laxity, making that joint more susceptible to injury. Many experts have found that long isolated events of stretching are much less effective than stretching for only 30 seconds one time per day.

The objectives of a proper warm-up should include: raising the core body temperature 1-2 degrees, slightly increasing heart rate and blood flow to and from the body's tissues, "waking up" the central nervous system, preparing muscles and joints for sport specific motions.