When Should I Warm Up?
(from Coach Jimmy Lamour, with Lamour Training Systems)
A warm-up should be performed before any prolonged muscular movement, such as, sprinting or strength training. Often times, an athlete will warm up prior to their strength training session, but start their sprinting session immediately afterwards. This can be a mistake if it takes 15 minutes or more to start the sprinting session after the strength training. The longer wait period will create cold and stiff muscles that can restrict movement of the correct muscles for sprinting. Whenever the correct muscles are not used, the body will compensate with other muscles doing an uncommon workload, which can lead to injury.
I can remember running track in high school and having long periods of time between events. I participated in the 100 meter sprint and sometimes the 4×400 Relay. The 100 meter sprint would start at the beginning of the track meet and the 400 meter sprint would be the grand finale of the track meet. Our coach would have us do a general warm-up before the 400 meter sprint because he said that we were sitting around too long between events. My teammates and I thought it was just one of his torture tactics, which he often used in practice. The more I learned about exercise science, the more I realized that coach was correct about warming up between long sessions of inactivity.
I advise the young athletes I work with to always warm-up 10 minutes before their sports coach warms the team up. Many middle school coaches are not strength and conditioning specialists. Consequently, they are still using the same warm-ups they learned in high school twenty years ago. Fitness has evolved and we are making new discoveries on how to create better athletes. It will let the coach know that you are dedicated athlete and it will make sure the athlete prepares the muscles properly for movement. It might help your teammates avoid injury because they will soon want to join you.
Warm-ups on off days from practice can also be beneficial. It can serve as a recovery tool by increasing blood flow to rid the body of any waste and transport nutrients throughout the body. I know from experience that it is very rare that middle school age athletes will do extra work on off days, but once they see the benefits in recovery they usually comply. It also helps to give incentives- like t-shirts or prizes. Moreover, this extra 10 minutes of work will increase their work capacity and mobility without added fatigue. Please make sure you do not try to perform a superman warm-up of 45 minutes because you will not recover well for your next practice.
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.He is also a PowerPlus Mouthguard Ambassador. Also, Coach Lamour is a devout Christian. 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