What is a good warm up for running?
by Eamon O Reilly (Read time 3mins). Target audience: Runners
In the previous article on warming up for sport we discussed the evidence around various advocated warm ups for a range of field sports. Of course there are differences in how we undertake a warm up for road running or track based warm ups when compared with team field sport. For a start there is no specific ball skills involved and there is no need for contact based drills. The need for developing multidirectional running skills is also not high up on the runners list and therefore practising these skills pre run is not necessary.
The UKSCA RAMP framework does apply for this group. Beginning with ‘Raise’ and progressing through the various stages of the framework.
R – Raise: Elevate body temperature, heart rate, blood flow and respiratory rate. This begins with low intensity exercise with a gradual build-up in speed
A – Activate: Stimulate key muscles which will be worked during the training session/game. The idea is to activate and not fatigue these muscles so reps are kept low (<10)
M – Mobilise: Perform key movement patterns associated with the sport- Moving joints through big ranges of motion with little to no static stretching performed
P – Potentiate: Increase the intensity of skills involved with the sport, moving towards reactive drills
By the time the athlete gets to Potentiate they will have began working on very specific running technique drills specifically targeting technical aspects of their run, that they would like to incorporate, whether this is reducing ground contact, increasing hip flexion or trunk based drills where limiting trunk rotation or forward lean are the main focus. This is definitely something we encourage at SPARC and getting athletes to practice these drills in addition to other drills that encourage optimal foot and ankle control and stiffness will make up the majority of what we encourage in a warm up.
Should I static stretch?
Again this is something that people regularly undertake pre training. I don’t have a big problem with stretching, it has been shown to increase range of movement acutely but there is also evidence that static stretching can also produce a significant acute decrement, of approximately 5–30%, in strength and power production of the stretched muscle groups. This is the reason why I don’t particularly advocate it to athletes. Dynamic stretching on the other hand has been shown to increase immediate performance when performed in a warm up but has been shown to have limited improvements in acute flexibility when compared with static stretching.
Individual prep work
This is the work an athlete does before going into a warm up. Generally these exercises are very individual to the athlete and are targeted at areas where strength and control deficits have been identified by either strength coaches or physiotherapists. Almost every athlete that comes through SPARC South Dublin will end up with some form of individual prep work to carry on with once they have recovered from the injury they attended clinic for. This practice allows us to help try and reduce injury recurrence rates and keep athletes in their sports.