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Physiological Reasons and Stages of A Warm Up and The Effects of Stretching

Competitive and recreational athletes typically perform warm-up and stretching activities to prepare for more strenuous exercise. These preliminary activities are used to enhance physical performance and to prevent sports-related injuries.
Warm-up techniques are primarily used to increase body temperature and are classified in 3 major categories.
a) Passive warm-up — increases temperature by some external means, such as a hot bath, shower or sauna.
b) General warm-up — increases temperature by nonspecific body movements. Running around in a circle bringing the knees up to the waste band whilst punching to the front.
c) Specific warm-up — increases temperature using similar body parts that will be used in the subsequent, more strenuous activity Such as 10 Squats followed by 10 Press Ups followed by 10 Half Sits.
The best of these appears to be specific warm-up because this method provides a rehearsal of the activity or event.

The intensity and duration of warm-up must be individualised according to the persons physical capabilities and also in consideration of environmental factors. A new client has the option of less repetitions and less distance as the experienced client also this has to adapt to the weather conditions.
The majority of the benefits of a warm-up are an elevation in body temperature which produces an increase in blood flow to the muscles, an increase in the sensitivity of nerve receptors, and a decrease of sports-related musculoskeletal injuries.

Improving flexibility through stretching is another important preparatory activity that has been advocated to improve physical performance. Maintaining good flexibility also aids in the prevention of injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Flexibility is defined as the range of motion possible around a specific joint or a series of articulations (knee joint, hip joint) and is usually classified as either static – standing quad stretch or dynamic – straight leg swings. Static flexibility refers to the degree to which a joint can be passively moved to the end-points in the range of motion. Dynamic flexibility refers to the degree which a joint can be moved as a result of a muscle contraction.

There are 3 basic categories of stretching techniques.
a) Ballistic — which makes use of repetitive bouncing movements – knee snaps , straight leg swings.
b) Static — which stretches the muscle to the point of slight muscle discomfort and is held for an extended period flexibility – standing, kneeling hamstring stretch 8 – 10 – 12 seconds.
C) PNF – proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation — which uses alternating contractions and stretching of the muscles. Stretching the stretch.
Because ballistic, static, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching techniques produce different responses from the stretch reflex, the relative effectiveness of these stretching methods also varies on the individual.
PNF – proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation techniques if applied correctly will provide the best improvements in flexibility.

The reason for performing a warm-up and stretching is to prepare the body for more strenuous activities. These preliminary activities are used to enhance physical performance and to prevent sports-related injuries.

Jamie Goss
Regiment Fitness

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