Keep Fit - Warming up & Cooling Down
There is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down will
improve an athlete's level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed
before training or competing again. As a result the coach must encourage the
athlete to regard the warm up and cool down as an essential part of both the
training session and competition itself.
Links to various pages are provided to help you compile your own warm up and
cool down routines.
is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up
should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness.
Warming up should at least consist of the following:
stretches are more appropriate to the warm up as they help reduce muscle
stiffness. Static exercises do not reduce muscle stiffness.
What are the benefits of a warm up?
Performance may be improved as an appropriate warm up will result in an:
- 5 to 10 minutes jogging - to increase body
- 10 to 15 minutes dynamic stretching
exercises - reduce muscle stiffness
- 10 to 15 minutes general and event specific
drills - preparation for the session or competition. e.g. for a runner
- 4 to 8 easy run outs over 30 to 60 metres - focus on correct running technique (Tall,
Relaxed, Smooth and Drive)
Warming down should consist of the following:
- Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
- Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
- Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
- Facilitated oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle
- Facilitated nerve transmission and muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor
unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
- Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to
relax and increase their range of movement.
What are the benefits of a cool down?
An appropriate cool down will:
- 5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking - decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles
- 5 to 10 minutes static stretching
exercises- decrease body temperature, remove waste products from the
working muscles and to increase range of movement.
- aid in the dissipation of waste products -
including lactic acid
- reduce the potential for DOMS
- reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting
caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
- reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood.