The goal of the warm-up is to prepare the body to perform dynamic, ideally explosive, powerful movements without injury.
In the past, this has involved light aerobic exercise followed by lots of passive stretching to loosen up tight muscles and increase range of movement while we were told to avoid bouncy movement for fear of tearing something.
Most of us have grow up doing the same thing and have never questioned what we are doing or why. More recently physio’s involved in sport have started to think about what stretching actually causes within the muscle and question if it’s really what we are after.
The effects of Static Stretching
- Relaxation (reduction of muscle tone)
As a result the muscle becomes less responsive with a similar effect to a deep massage. The exception to this is if you are too tight (very high tone) in which case, stretching will bring you back to a more normal level but should be considered part of a pre-hab, mobility or injury prevention routine rather than part of the warm up.
What we want from the Warm Up
- Increased mobility
- Maintaining muscle tone to make sure the muscles are ready to control movement and generate force quickly to accelerate, decelerate and change direction
- Starting with general, low intensity activity to warm the muscles, tendons and ligaments such as an easy jog to get a light sweat.
- Progress to include side-ways and rotation movements.
- As you progress, exercises become gradually faster, joints and muscles are taken through greater ranges of movement, involving higher loads and include hockey specific skills.
By going through this process you have prepared the body for the specific movements, speeds and forces that will be required and give yourself the best chance of avoiding injury.
Static stretching may have a place but that would be after activity, in the warm down, where recovery and relaxation is desirable and as part of a mobility program so that when you get to the game you don’t feel tight before you start.
Key Points of the Warm Up
- Increase temperature
- Increase mobility
- Increase load and speed
- Incorporate functional movements and skills.
Give us a call for information about how we can help improve your performance, reduce the risk of injury and fix existing problems.