What Do Preventive Warm-Ups Consist Of?

03 November, 2020
Preventive warm-ups are a good way to significantly lower the risk of injury. What should you take into account when performing this exercise?

From a very young age, we all learn about the importance of warming up before doing exercise. For example, the classic quadriceps stretch with one leg in the air or running for a few minutes. However, as we become older, warming up needs to be more complete; which is where preventive warm-ups rise to the surface.

In this article, we’ll be talking about what this type of warm-up consists of, as well as its importance in helping athletes to prevent injuries.

Why are preventive warm-ups so important?

Warming up, in general, is very important because, thanks to those movements, you’re able to prepare the body structures for the effort you’re about to carry out.

For the muscles, this preparation includes increasing blood flow and beginning gentle contractions. In this way, when a more intense effort is required, they’ll already have the necessary substances to complete it without any problems.

However, warming up also helps the circulatory system in general since it increases circulation. Additionally, it gets the respiratory system to start working, which is essential in order to breathe properly while exercising.

Lastly, it’s important to keep the soft tissues in mind. Warming up helps to prepare the tendon-muscle and tendon-bone junction and make it stronger. On the other hand, the ligaments and joint capsules also get prepared to withstand the efforts that are soon to come.

A man practicing preventive warm-ups.

Stretching as a form of warming-up

When it comes to warm-up exercises, most people like to talk about stretching. As a matter of fact, many people consider this exercise an essential element before any sort of physical training. However, this is incorrect.

When you stretch a muscle for a long time, you basically relax it. It comes to a point where the muscle is simply used to being stretched all the time. Nonetheless, there are sports in which you don’t need that much flexibility. For example, when lifting weights.

In this case, warming up helps the muscles to contract quickly and effectively, but stretching them has the opposite effect. Therefore, if you require explosive strength, you must save the stretching exercises for after the exercise, in order to go back to normal. In other circumstances, or if you’re going to do light exercise, we advise you to stretch both before and after.

Preventive warm-ups: what exactly are they?

Preventive warm-ups are next level. This modality is based on adding a series of specific exercises to the general warm-up routine. In general, these specific exercises will be for strength and their intensity tends to increase gradually.

In other words, preventive warm-ups consist of a series of exercises that prepare the body in a more thorough way. They must be guided by a specialist, such as a team’s physical trainer or the athlete’s personal trainer. The idea is for them to be basic at the beginning. Depending on the athlete’s level, they can raise the intensity until the individual achieves a full warm-up.

With these strength exercises, what you do is prepare the body not only for the sport you’re going to practice but also for stressful situations in general. In this way, you’ll be better prepared to withstand a sudden change in rhythm or to exert a large sudden amount of force.

Preventive warm-ups are called that way due to the fact that they significantly reduce the risk of injury. For that reason, it’s an effective and convenient method for athletes who train or compete in an intense way.

A woman exercising with her personal trainer.

The importance of warming up

Firstly, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a good warm-up. Apart from previous physical preparation, it’s the main way to avoid injury.

Therefore, don’t focus all your energy on stretching your quadriceps and then just move your knees and ankles in little circles. The warm-up must be intense since the goal is to prepare the whole body and not just the parts involved in the sport you’ll practice. You need to pump blood to all the structures of the body and it’s essential to do it well since you want them to endure an intense effort.

In brief, preventive warm-ups look to take care of the body structures that’ll suffer the most in the sport you’re going to carry out. Practicing this before doing physical exercise significantly reduces the likelihood of injury. Any athlete who’s suffered an injury knows how important prevention is when it comes to safely practicing a sport.

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  • J. Carlos-Vivas, J. Martin-Martinez, M. Chavarrias et al. Archivos de Medicina del Deporte. Los ejercicios preventivos tras el calentamiento ayudan a reducir lesiones en fútbol. Arch. Med. Deporte 2017;34(1):21-24.
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