Why Should You Warm-Up?
from Coach Jimmy Lamour with Lamour Training Systems
The purpose of the warm-up is to lubricate the joints, increase the responsiveness of the central nervous system, prepare the body for the specific movements, and increase our core temperature. The lubrication of the joints makes moving the joints easier. The bending of the knee is critical when sprinting, but will never be accomplished with stiff joints. The joints will be more lubricated when the body is warm and able to produce fluid that easily flows to keep the joints moving. When a door has not been lubricated properly it will not function properly, will not open and shut easily, and will make a noise that confirms its problem.
The brain sends messages to the muscles to tell them to move. The central nervous system must be awake through a proper warm-up to send the signals clearly to the muscles, quickly and efficiently enough to recruit as much muscle fiber as needed to perform a specific movement. If the brain does not send the signal efficiently, the body will not be able to perform that movement with the speed that is required, which increases the athlete’s risk of injury. There are certain drills that excite the nervous system because they demand more muscle fibers to perform the movements. These drills must be progressive from slower exercises to faster exercises to avoid injury.
Preparing the body for specific movements by using exercises that activate the same muscles during the warm-up is essential. This method will ensure that the proper muscle groups are ready to move in any way they are needed. If I am going to use what is in a car engine to help the car operate, I do not need to warm-up the tires to accomplish what only the engine is capable of. The sprints require the use of the glutes, hamstrings, hip muscles, and quadriceps, so it would make sense to warm-up the glutes, hamstrings, hip muscles, and quadriceps. Of course, the whole body needs to be warmed up, but some muscles are more dominant in certain aspects of sprinting than others.
Increasing your core temperature will also make movement easier. A warm body allows joints and muscles to have a greater range of motion. A warm rubber band can be manipulated more than a cold rubber band. It is for this reason that increasing the temperature of the body should be the first priority when performing a warm-up. How can I tell if I am warm enough to begin exercise? A rule of thumb is to break a light sweat before sprinting or performing movements at high speeds. Most athletes will start to warm-up their temperature within the range of 10-20 minutes depending on the level of preparedness of the athlete. Moreover, you do not want to turn the warm-up into a workout by making it too long. It will take away from your workout by using the energy reserves that was stored for the workout.
The Warm Up must be versatile enough to be individualized because every athlete does not have the same mobility and may increase their core temperature faster than others. The drills must have options for very mobile and athletes that are not as mobile. For instance, a mobile athlete might be able to a spiderman crawl and a less mobile athlete might have to do a wide out. It is okay to vary the warm-up periodically because it will prevent the athletes from being bored. It will also challenge the range of motion of the athlete by making the body adapt to new positions. The worst thing you can do in the warm up period is just run two laps and just static stretch.
The biggest missing components I have seen in warm ups I have observed over the years are activating the glutes, hip flexor, and deep core muscles. I also see warm ups that are not coached or athletes are left on their own. This usually creates a mindset in the athletes’ minds that the warm up is not very important.
Jimmy Lamour is a former Guilford College in Greensboro, NC All South Defensive Back. He set the record for interception return yards at the school. Upon Graduation, he tested numerous philosophies on strength and speed through seminars, self-study, conversation with renowned strength coaches, and training of hundreds of athletes. This led him to develop the 4.30 40 Speed System a system that helped him improve his 40 yard dash from a 4.66 to a 4.30, which gave way to many professional football workouts. He later developed Lamour Training Systems with the help of his lovely wife Charlene to help athletes improve their performance and receive knowledge he missed out on as a child. He continues to consult with several division 1, prep schools, and high school coaches. LTS has helped many football athletes play at the D1, D2, and D3 levels. He believes that his passion to see young men become all God intended them to be and provide knowledge of the defensive back position which will allow young athletes under the tutelage of Pick 6 Academy to flourish. He is currently certified as a Youth Fitness specialist, 7on7 Performance Director, and High School Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Also, Coach Lamour is a devout Christian and enjoys being a part of Harvest Church. He has two children Camdon (19) and Micah (12).Sign up for his newsletter to receive his free speed report at http://fastyouthathlete.blogspot.com/ on For more information, call 336-257-9151