Activate. Potentiate. Foam Roll. Self Mobilization. I posted earlier this year about heat and how it validated what Charlie and other coaches have said for years, and John Smith’s quote from the MSTCA clinic was chanted this Friday. When one is tired or sometimes when athletes are lazy, warm-ups look like prides of lions with half hearted stretches and leg swings. I am no longer letting people die on their own sword and like warm-down, I am needing to call it workout 1 so people don’t do their own thing. Warming up is not exciting, but to me it’s the most important part of practice. I believe the reason we are seeing so much foot, knee, and hip problems in our sport is because we are looking at the wrong influences and have left classic principles for cook wannabe medical interventions. The most important treatment modality is prevention and basics must be done. If you are injured and can’t complete the warm-up without a PT exercise finish your rehab or see another professional.
Daniel Andrews said years ago that if you can’t do the warm-up without pain, you need to seek medical attention. I like that black and white mentality because we get lost in the gray area sometimes because it’s inconvenient. I believe you should be able to move for 30 minutes doing light activities to get your body warm and loose before doing stretches. I foam roll after practice and if people are too tired we do a restoration day or pool day instead of doing more high risk activities. Thixotropic actions of fasica need heat and internal chemistry, so walking outside when it’s hot is not a warm-up unless the stadium is 200,000 people and you are peaking. Even then I would so something, but peaking does reduce the need to wake-up the body and most championships outdoors are warm. If not, go back to the basics and warm-up.
The problems are that it’s not that we don’t know the above and preaching to the choir does get old, but how to make warm-ups fun. Sometimes a little frisbee on a holiday workout (not ultimate) or some nerf toys make warm-up number 659 in college different. Music with a big jambox or similar bluetooth solution helps get the people goin! Yesterday we had practice and it was chilly, so I restarted the warm-up. It was one of the best practices we had this year and I believe the extra 15 minutes did something. I compromise too much I think and need to do more intermediate medicine ball throws and other stimulating activities.