The Importance of Warming Up

dreamstime_xl_46146163-300Why warm up

Warming up prepares the body for exercise by increasing:

  • blood flow to muscles and hence the nutrients the muscles require for activity
  • blood flow to heart preparing the heart muscle for exercise
  • oxygen delivery to muscles
  • speed of nerve impulses


Warming up also decreases:

  • Muscle viscosity leading to smoother muscle contractions and increased mechanical efficiency
  • Stiffness of connective tissue and likelihood of tears

Research shows …

Structured warm up programs designed to prevent injuries can reduce injury risk by 50% or more.

How best to warm up prior to exercise

The most effective warm up should last consists of a:

  1. Pulse raisers
  2. General exercises
  3. Specific exercises


Pulse raisers


A pulse raiser is designed to gradually increase heart rate (temperature, blood flow and oxygen) to your muscles, preparing the body for exercise.A suitable pulse raiser could be
  • jogging
  • cycling or
  • skipping
TIP: Start slowly and gradually increase.


General exercises


General exercises are designed to improve your range of motion in preparation for the type of exercise you are about to do.The best type of exercises are dynamic and can include exercises like:
  • high knee running
  • walking lunges with a twist
  • jump squats and
  • arm circles

Specific Exercises


Sports specific exercises usually come in the form of drills which repeat common movement patterns and skills you are likely to use in your sport. For example,
  • cutting manoeuvres
  • overhead serves
  • hitting practice
  • passing drills

Warming up – how much is enough?


There is no reliable data to prescribe the intensity and duration of a warm up. It is up to the individual to determine.TIP: But a rule of thumb mild is mild sweating without fatigue.


The effect of the warm up lasts around 30 minutes so it is important not to warm up too early and remember it is just as important to cool down after.


Like some help?


We’d be pleased to help you develop a warm-up routine that will keep you moving well.