With the World Masters Games just around the corner, it is timely to talk about the way for an athlete to warm-up, perform better and reduce the likelihood of getting an injury.
This warm-up can be used for any event and is designed to get the body moving and ready for action. Ideally this is completed 10 minutes before the event.
Remember to avoid static stretching before the event, as this makes the muscles weaker and more likely to strain. Do your static stretching after the event when your body is still warmed up.
By performing a dynamic warm-up before an event, you not only get the blood going but you are actually training the brain to perform. By increasing blood flow to the brain, certain neurotransmitters are released which prepare the body for movement, increase concentration and help raise whole body awareness. This has the combined effect of increasing performance and reducing injury.
The following programme starts slow and finishes with some fast movements, so take your time and build into the workout.
1) Forward lunges: Forward lunges allow the hip and leg power muscles to engage and turn on, ready for your run. Lunges train the glutes, quads and calves to work together as your pressure moves forward. Start off with feet hip width apart, step forward planting your heel first and keep your back straight. Concentrate on keeping your hips facing forward, and your hips, knee and ankle at 90 degree angles. Your front knee shouldn’t pass your toes. Pass weight through until you are back in a standing position. Complete 10 lunges.
2) Backward lunges: Now reverse and lunge backwards. Make sure you still keep your back straight and your legs at 90 degree angles. Backward lunges open the hip flexors and again engage the power muscles. Complete 10 lunges.
3) Sideways leg swings: Leg swings allow for the hips to open up and warm up the hips full range of motion, as well as getting a dynamic stretch of the hamstrings, glutes, adductors and abductors. Start off standing, facing and holding onto a wall with both hands to stabilise yourself. Swing one leg out to the side and then cross your other leg. Try to keep your upper body and hips still and straight. Complete 10 swings each way, on each leg.
4) Forward-backward leg swings: Turn so you are standing beside the wall and hold on with one hand to stabilise yourself. Make sure you keep your upper body and hip still and facing forward. Swing one leg out in front of you and then behind. Complete 10 swings each way, on each leg.
5) Squats: Squats open up the hips, neutralise the back and engage the glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. Start by planting your feet slightly outside of your hip width, with your weight evenly distributed between your heels. Make sure to keep it on your heels and not onto your toes. Turn your feet slightly out and push your hips back down low as if you’re sitting on an invisible chair, while keeping your chest facing forward. Then bring your hips forward to the original position.
6) Heel flicks/butt kicks: Heel flicks encourage active propulsion and hamstring activation. Start off by jogging forward, taking short steps and flicking your heels as high as you can. Make sure your knee doesn’t come forward and hips stay still. Continue for 10m.
7) Knee highs: Knee highs encourage active propulsion and neutral foot landing, while activating the quads and glutes. Start off by jogging forward, taking short steps and driving your knees as high as you can. Make sure your hips don’t tilt. Continue for 10m.
8) Knee high skipping: Knee high skipping opens the arms for full range swing and encourage active propulsion and neutral foot landing, while activating the quads and glutes. Start by bounding up off one foot and driving your knees as high as you can. Swing your arm as high as you can as well. Make sure your back is straight. Swap legs and continue for 10m.
Movement should be enjoyable and so long as you keep moving, your body will respond in a positive way. If you have any questions with the above exercises, please feel free to contact us at Advance Wellness. Until next time, good luck for anyone going to the World Masters Games.