As a track coach, I am in a constant battle with my players about proper warmup.  Specifically, what the heck they are wearing when it is 50 degrees prior to their workout.  If it is called a warmup, why is the athlete making it that much harder for him/herself by warming up in a shirt and shorts?

There are several reasons why you want to get warmed up:

  • It is easier to perform at your best when your muscles are warm.
  • It helps prepare the body for the intensity you are going to do in the upcoming activity.
  • It reduces the chance of injury.
  • The better you are warmed up, the better your performance will be.

Watch NBA players.  They keep their warmups on the entire time before taking them off.  When they get subbed out for the bench, they are immediately putting a jacket on or some type of warmup clothing to stay warm.

If the pros are doing a proper warmup, then I’m sure your athlete can do a proper warmup.  You never see Lebron James finish putting on his uniform and immediately walk out for jump ball.  He spends a lot of time getting warmed up for the game.

One of my high jumpers from last year scored in every meet, but two.  The two meets she didn’t score in wasn’t because the competition was so good, it was because she chose to not wear her warmups during her warmup/competition.

One of the meets it was raining hard.  With no sweats on to protect her muscles, they never could get consistently warm.  She ended up jumping no higher than a height she could clear easily if she had been wearing sweats to protect her from the rain and staying consistently warmed up.

For the perfect warmup, you need to wear sweats or something over your limbs as long as you can.  If it is really warm, then maybe a very light long sleeve shirt and pants and wear it until you get a good lather on.

After that, here is a sample warmup you could use for any team for any sport:

  • You want to do a very general activity for 3-5 minutes to get the blood flowing. E. jog, jump rope, jumping jacks, something that will start raising the heart rate and get the blood flowing.
  • You then want to do an active warmup that will get the body moving in various positions to allow for the greatest range of motion possible and mimic movements you will do in the contest. Here are a few examples:
    • High Knees
    • Butt Kicks
    • Side Shuffles
    • Walking Toe Touches
    • Duck Walks
    • Walking Knee Hugs
    • Inch Worms
    • Walking Lunges
    • Lateral Lunges
    • Power Skips for Height or Distance
    • Leg Swings Forward/Backward and/or Side to Side
  • Once you go through that then you would want to start doing more game specific warmups. A basketball players starts taking shots.  A football player goes through position drills, etc.  Do this at increasing intensities so you are just about at the same level you will be, come gametime.

This type of warmup should not be an option.  If you want to put yourself in the best position to succeed, then you need to do a good warmup.  Otherwise, you will not be ready from the start to perform at your max level.

Then it might be too late and you are packing your bags heading back home.