Warm Up and Cool Down

Spending time on warming up and cooling down will improve an athlete’s level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before and after training or a competition.

Warm Up

It is recommended that you always warm up before training or any competition. Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury. Warming up prepares you not only physically for training or competition but also mentally and are a crucial part of performance. If completed correctly it enable the body to perform at its peak performing ability at the current time.

However, over the last few years a number of recent studies have demonstrated that an overly vigorous aerobic warm-up simply makes you tired. Most experts advise starting your warm-up jog at about 40 percent of your maximum heart rate (a very easy pace) and progressing to about 60 percent. The aerobic warm-up should take only 5 to 10 minutes, with a 5 minute recovery. Sprinters require longer warm-ups, because the loads exerted on their muscles are so extreme.

Even though many experts recommend that you stretch after training, studies have been increasingly clear that static stretching alone before exercise is not recommended. In a study from 2008, conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. For more information see page on stretching.

There are many beneficial effects from warm ups which include.
Increased heart rate.

This makes the oxygen in the blood travel faster which mean the muscles fatigue slow down, also, the synovial fluid between the joints is produced more to reduce friction in the joints, the capillaries dilate and it lets more oxygen travel in the blood.

Higher temperature in the muscles.

The oxygen travel to different parts of the body quicker. This decreases the thickness of the blood-letting and the viscosity within the muscle and removes lactic acid. It also lets the muscles fibers have greater extensibility and elasticity and an increase in force and contraction of muscles.

An appropriate warm up will result in that performance may be improved in the following below.
  • Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
  • Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
  • Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
  • Facilitated oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because haemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures
  • Facilitated nerve transmission and muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
  • Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
  • Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
  • Mentally focused on the training or competition
Cool Down

Cooling down simply means slowing down (not stopping completely) after exercise. Cooling down will decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles. Continuing to move around at a very low intensity, for instance, jogging or walking, for 5 to 10 minutes after a workout helps remove lactic acid from your muscles and may reduce muscles stiffness.