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Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:53 pm

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Location: Chico, CA

From Fahey Training column Fitness RX for Women

Functional Warmup Prepares You For Exercise
A good warmup should increase muscle temperature slightly, promote blood flow to exercising muscles, maximize the speed and force of muscle contractions, lubricate the joints, promote joint range of motion, and prepare you mentally for the activity or sport. For at least one hundred years, warm-up consisted mainly of a series of flexibility exercises that pushed muscles and joints to the limits of their ranges of motion. Several recent studies showed that pre-activity flexibility exercises decreased strength and increased the risk of injury. This prompted many coaches to use more functional movements designed to increase muscle temperature and range of motion through dynamic movements that prepare the body for intense activity to come. A good functional warmup is part of the training program. In golf, for example, instead of stretching the hamstrings, hips, and back, gradually increase the movement of the hips and spine, simulating the movement of the golf swing. A bowler or softball player would warmup similarly, except using motions specific to those sports. Static stretching is still important but do it after the workout when the muscles and joints are warm and lubricated.
(Strength Conditioning Journal 28:30-36, 2006)

Dynamic Warmup Superior to Static Warmup
Most knowledgeable coaches recommend large muscle dynamic warmup before beginning vigorous sports activities. Active warmup replaces pre-sports stretches that most athletes have done for more than 100 years. Unfortunately, we don’t have much research to support the effectiveness of the new warmup techniques. Researchers from the United States Army— led by Danny McMillian— found that a dynamic warmup resulted in better performances in tests of maximum power (T-shuttle run, underhand medicine ball throw, and five step jump) than a static stretching warmup or no warmup. The active warmup included callisthenic exercises such as squats, push-ups, windmills, and rear lunge and reach and movement drills such as skips and short sprints. Static stretching included exercises that stretched the major muscles and joints of the body. The study showed that a whole body functional warmup was superior to a traditional static stretching warmup.
(Journal Strength Conditioning Research 20:492-499,2006)

Thomas Fahey
Dept Kinesiology
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0330

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