This sport article looks at tips from top athletes on getting the most out of your sport and exercise. One of the important tips used by top athletes is a solid warm-up before a session or competition. By chatting to your coach of fitness professional you can fine-tune this procedure to suit your sport or exercise.
Warm-up - It's important to warm-up and get your muscles ready for exercise. The principle is to get oxygen to the exercising muscles so they can function at their best. This also reduces the chance of injury. This is why you see top athletes dedicate quality time to their warm-ups. While their warm-ups might include some complex areas such as massage, physio etc. there are some basic transferable tips that you can use to get you ready for your session.
These might include, light exercise, such as jogging, for 10+min. It is interesting that stretching before exercise have recently been put into question by some researchers. However, some gentle mobility stretches for your main exercising muscles may be still be useful. Again, chat with your coach for guidelines.
If your sport requires a specific skill, such as kicking, practice this skill starting EASY. Remember, part of your warm-up requires mentally focusing on the tasks and skills you need to perform.
One added benefit of a regular warm-up routine is that this familiar pattern can help reduce your nervousness before a big competition or a stressful workout. When you are competing at a foreign ground with a hostile crowd and intimidating opposition little things like a well-rehearsed warm-up routine can steady the nerves. It can give you confidence that you are ready to go.
The same is for doing a hard Bootcamp session and being nervous about the pain ahead. A regular familiar warm-up brings a comfort to the nerves as well as helping the muscles get ready for action.
Warm-up A & B
Another tip used by top athletes and coaches is having two warm-up routines. The first is the regular warm-up. The second is a condensed/shorter warm-up used if an athlete or team is running late.
For example, the Australian Hockey team had warm-up A as their main way to prepare for the Olympic competition. This warm-up was the familiar routine that they knew would have them ready to take the field. However, they also practiced warm-up B which was to be used if their bus was delayed and they arrived too late for warm-up A. Warm-up B was a more basic version with less easy jogging and less stretching but it still prepared them for the match and steadied the nerves.
Write down your warm-up routine and stick it to your gear bag to help in your preparation. This little bit of preparation will make a big difference to your next session.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html