All throughout high school cross-country, track and even through all my years of ballet we always did a warm up. In ballet it was at the barre to warm up before moving to floor work. During track and cross country we always did a dynamic warm up and this continued, literally using the same exercises, during my years of rowing. I understood the idea of waking the muscles up before working out and warming things up before asking your body to go full force but I had never really thought too much more about it. My coaches for triathlon also always talked about it but I just didn’t spend any time on it once I moved to triathlon.
At the coaching certification they talked A LOT about the dynamic warm up. Examples of what I am talking about are:
-the inch worm
The list goes on….
The term they used to explain the importance of this was neuromuscular activation, which basically means waking up the pathways of communication from our brains to our muscles. So this goes further than getting our heart rate up and blood pumping to our muscles so they can begin doing work. The dynamic warm up also wakes up our coordination and motor skills. As a typical un-coordinated triathlete, this can only be a good thing J I think everyone has experienced that first mile or 2 of your run that just sucks. You feel wonky and sort of out of control of your body. Doing a dynamic warm up inhibits this because it awakens the pathways before your workout. I have started doing about 5 minutes of this before most of my runs. Sometimes I forget and just take off running..oops. Other times I just do like 2 minutes and get over it. As of late, now about a month after the clinic, I am much better about completing an adequate warm up and do think it is saving my first mile from being absolute crap and helping with my coordination! If nothing else, it is definitely helping with injury prevention!