WARM UPS – DROP AND GIVE ME 50
At the minute, extravagant 45-60-minute warm up stretching routines are in fashion. Some people spend more time stretching than exercising. Traditional approaches to sports performance are continuously being challenged and this is one topic which has come into the spotlight as of late. But why?
“YOU MUST STRETCH BEFORE TRAINING OR YOU WILL BECOME HORRIFICALLY INJURED AND NEVER PLAY SPORTS AGAIN.” This is not true.
Static stretching, for more than 45second holds, have been shown to reduce strength, power and performance. This does not mean that static stretching is bad. It probably just means that you shouldn’t use it prior to exercising. It can be useful after exercise as a form of warm down (controversy on the benefits of warm downs is for another time!)
Dynamic stretching, held for less than five seconds, and done in a slow controlled fashion are probably more appropriate prior to activity. But does dynamic stretching help prevent injury? There is little evidence to suggest it does to be honest. Most studies show it has no effect on sports performance.
So what do we do???
An adequate warm up should include a variety of stretches, strengthening exercises, balance exercises and sport specific drills such as landing mechanics or change of direction mechanics. A warm up needs to be included prior to all sporting activities to have a lasting effect. Challenge your brain and your movement patterns regularly in your warm ups.
A great warm up programme which has been developed by FIFA, called the 11+, has been introduced all over the world including our very own NZ Football. It is evidence based and proven to reduce the risk of injuries in soccer. This can easily be carried over into Netball, Handball and Basketball. You can access this programme HERE
My advice from everything that I’ve read and from my own experiences and experiences of my patients;
If stretching feels good for you, do it. But avoid using it solely as your warm-up.
Incorporate a variety of dynamic stretches, balance exercises, jumping and landing technique exercises and finish with some neural stimulus exercises like fast feet or squat jumps to get the nervous system fired up prior to sport.
If you have any queries about warm ups/stretching/any other topics covered in this blog tip series or an injury you would like to be seen to give us a call 0800842749 to book a physio appointment or book online here.