Is it really necessary to warm up? Yes !! A study in Sports Medicine showed that a proper warm-up improves performance and protects you against injury. It prepares your body and mind for the efforts of a training session.
Warming up gets the circulation ready and increases the oxygen supply to your muscles. An effective warm-up should raise the heart rate to about 70 – 80% of its maximum. Less vigorous exercise wont activate the cardiovascular system sufficiently, while overly intense warm-ups can cause tiredness which makes training harder.
Stretches are part of a warm-up routine. However, there are 2 main types of stretches – Dynamic stretches and Static stretches. In a warm-up you should only do dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching, which uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently. For examples of dynamic stretching click on the following link –> http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/dynamic-routine
So, if we spend all this time at the start of a session warming up, why do we need to cool down at the end of a session? A cool-down is an essential part of the recovery process after an intensive work out and is often ignored by athletes. A proper cool-down should consist of some slow jogging, eventually slowing to a walk, followed by some stretching. Now we can do some static stretches.This will help bring the heart rate back to normal and remove lactic acid from the legs to prevent stiffness the following day. For some examples of static stretches see the following link –> http://www.brianmac.co.uk/stretch.htm
3 Ways coaches already do some of these stretches with you, but feel free to practice new stretches at home and suggest them to the coaches to add into your warm-up and cool-down. Remember, it’s YOUR training session so feel free to make suggestions!!