A warm up gradually raises body temperature and heart rate and improves the exchange of oxygen from haemoglobin. We warm up for three reasons: 1. to prevent injury 2. to improve performance 3. to prepare psychologically for the event. A warm up should provide a smooth transition from rest to the intensity of the main activity of competitive situation. The first part of the warm up is the:- A Cardiovascular warm up This gradually raises the pulse rate gradually towards the working pulse rate. This can take various forms and could include easy cycling on an exercise bike, easy jogging, slow swimming etc. This part of the warm up usually takes between 5-10 minutes.
B A typical cardiovascular warm-up for my sport would be:-C The second phase of the warm-up is stretching There are two ways to do this 1. static-easy stretches which are held for about 10-15 seconds without straining 2. PNF – assisted stretches with the help of coach/training partner. D Typical stretches that I would use for my sport are:- The main activity This may take a variety of forms and will also differ depending on the individual needs of the performer e.g aims, fitness level, body build, time of year etc. It may be a skills session, a fitness session or a mixture of both. It may be Continuous, Interval, Fartlek, Circuit Weight or Cross Training or…….It may be the actual game.
An example of the main session in my activity could be:- Cool-down This gradually returns the body to its normal temperature and the working pulse rate to the resting pulse rate. It helps to prevent stiffness and soreness in the muscles by dispersing lactic acid. Every activity should finish with a cool down but particularly after an aerobic activity. The performer will normally put back on the warm clothing they used to warm up in. Similar activities are done to the warm up and this helps prevent blood pooling in the lower limbs by assisting the returns of venous blood to the heart.
The cool down takes between 10 and 15 minutes, 5 minutes to return the pulse rate to normal and 10 minutes of static stretching to disperse lactic acid. Static stretches are held for longer in the cool down, about 30-35 seconds is usual. These stretches should again reflect the activity and if a variety of muscles have been used then these should be restretched in the cool down. As in the warm up, the stretches should be done in sequence, starting at the top and gradually working down the body.
An example of the cool-down session in my activity could be:- Controversial Contra-indicated Exercise (Exercises to avoid)! These are exercises that go against that we know to be good practice and they are therefore at the very least controversial- that is to say that doubts have been raised about their safety. They are now referred to as contra-indicated. Such exercises fall into one of three main activities. 1. Hyperextension – this describes exercises that hyperextend the joint, e.g. excessive arching of the back in gymnastics or the cervical extension of the neck stretching the neck backwards as far as it can go.
2. Hyperflexion – this describes exercises that hyperflex the back, e.g. toe touching gains a high rating of danger from many specialists. 3. High impact exercises – e.g. star jumps or exercises that require you to jump up and down double footed on the spot. Skin splints are one injury thought to be caused by this sort of training. Low impact exercises are recommended and a suitable one might be skipping on alternate legs.
Sit ups These have been around for a long time and are one of the prime exercises that fit into the contra-indicated/controversial category. It is now generally accepted that sit ups with straight legs and/or hands clasped behind the neck are bad exercises. There are a number of alternatives but they all require bent legs with hands either on the chest, to the side, placed on the legs or with fingers at the temples or the ears. We do not also need to go through the full range of sit up movements.
Vulnerable areas Although there are a number of contra-indicated exercises, the ones of main concern are those that involve the neck and back and that is why the sit up is one of them. It also fits the form of ballistic exercise. We can see from our work on the spinal column and the vertebrae just how vulnerable this area is. Likewise from our study of the knee joint (the most complicated and vulnerable joint in the body) we should now understand why exercises such as star jumps can cause injury to the knee.