In past articles I have written about warm-up, dynamic stretching and even sports psychology with regards to competition preparation. I have broken down the benefits of a solid preparation routine and how to approach it to achieve maximum performance. These routines differ from athlete to athlete as everybody is built differently. Some people may need more work with mobility and some may need more work with muscle activation. In this article I will be walking you through my own PERSONAL preparation routine when I train or play sports.
Notice I did not use the words “warm-up”. Personally, I feel like those words limit what a real warm-up is supposed to be. It is much more than simply raising body temperature or stretching. It is a collective “peaking” of the body, mind and spirit to achieve maximum performance. Ask a personal trainer in Richmond for exercises for maximum performance.
As with majority of health and fitness questions, in order to answer it we must relate it back to our GOAL. For example, if I plan to train lower body and/or explosive power, I will be prepare myself with a few things. First off, I will raise heart rate and increase blood flow in my legs. The former can be done with a light jog, biking or skipping (my personal favourite). The latter can be done with bodyweight squats or lunges. The more blood in the legs, the better and “oiled up” your legs will be during the training sessions.
Next I will work on activation and mobility/foam rolling. With lower body training, activating the glutes and hips are extremely important. I like to start off with a few easy glute bridges then progress to single leg ones. With the hips I like to do fire-hydrants which are great to increase range of motion. Light hamstring curls work really well if you plan to do squats and deadlifts.
Lastly I will work on any restricted areas with the use of a foam roller or any other mobility methods. My gluteus medius (part above the glutes) is generally tight thus restricting my movement during a squat. With the foam roller I am able to release the tight area to improve performance. Ask a personal trainer in Richmond on how to foam roll.
With sports, it is important to recognize what movements are needed during playtime and what energy systems are at use. In dodgeball, quick explosive movements in all directions are important including jumping, and obviously throwing of course. Muscles surrounding the hips must be dynamically stretched before playing. These include the hip flexors, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. General dynamic stretches to move through the range of motion is sufficient for this section. Ask a personal trainer in Richmond about dynamic stretches.
Ankle stability drills (such as balance drills) are performed before games start as well to warm up the ligaments in the ankle. This is for injury prevention and may not directly influence athletic performance. The worst thing that can happen to the athlete is to take time off the sport due to an injury. Bodyweight squats or lunges is performed as well to warm-up the stabilizers in the knee.
Shoulder injuries are almost inevitable with throwing sports such as baseball and javelin. But with the proper injury prevention exercises, we can avoid injuries. When I prepare my arm and shoulder for throwing, I perform upper back (postural) and rotator cuff exercises. These postural exercises ensure that the proper muscles pull the arm back into the socket and prevents any tears. Exercises include wall angels or reverse flies. Next are the rotator cuff muscles. These are muscles that support the shoulder joint and are highly at risk with any impact or throwing injuries. Keeping your elbow and a 90 degrees flexion, rotate your arm upwards and squeeze the shoulder blades together. This movement ensures that you are using the small rotator cuff muscles rather than the deltoid muscles. Both types of exercises ensure shoulder health and injury prevention.
These are the movements and exercise I walk myself through before each training session or dodgeball game. These are my preferences and they work for me. Everyone is different and other people may have different preparations they go through.
Until next time,
Personal Trainer and Kinesiologist at Crux Fitness