By Nolan Kowal, Sport Performance Specialist

According to the American Heart Association, “a good warm-up before a workout dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen.”[1]

Your body will need the increased amount of blood and oxygen in order to carry you through an intense session or game. Failing to warm-up can result in poorer performance or even injury.

Warming up prepares us in three ways:

Mental Preparation

Warming up gets us in the right mindset and prepares us mentally to perform. Your mind is focused on the upcoming activity which helps you stay goal oriented.

Physical Preparation

Warming up prepares you physically. Increasing blood flow and muscle temperature help prepare your body for activity. It also ensures that enough oxygen and blood are circulating the body.

Injury Prevention

Warming up helps to prevent injuries. You can’t expect your body to go from zero to a hundred without giving it proper time to accommodate. Prepare your body for the movements, speed, intensity, and forces it will face during your performance.

 

A 10-minute warm-up is equivalent to 48 hours of training during a year based on a 5-6 day a week training schedule.

The RAMP Protocol is a widely used method that ensures your warm-up is meeting your needs.

The “R” in RAMP stands for “Raise.”

During this period of the warm-up, your goal is to raise the following:

  • Body Temperature
  • Heart Rate
  • Respiration Rate
  • Blood Flow
  • Joint Viscosity (improving the movement capability of the joints)

This may be done through sprinting, change of direction exercises, squatting, lunging, jumping, or any other dynamic movements that elevate your levels.

 

The “A” in RAMP stands for “Activate” and the “M” in RAMP stands for “Mobilize.”

These two sections are often grouped together. The goal during these two steps is to go through the ranges of motion that are specific to the activity you are partaking in. Activate and mobilize key muscles/muscle groups, joints, and sport specific movements.

Typical activation and mobilization exercises include balance work, sumo shuffles, Supermans and inchworms, and spinal mobility exercises.

It is also beneficial to vary up the exercises you do during these sections to prevent stagnation.

 

The “P” in RAMP stands for “Potentiate or “Performance.”

The goal of this section is to prepare your body for the actual performance. This is done by gradually increasing the intensity of the exercises/drills until you can perform at maximum speed or intensity.

Exercises in this section are sport-dependent but most would include a combination of plyometric drills, accelerations, and agility drills.

Starting your game or workout should be like stepping off a curb, not jumping off a cliff.

 

What about stretching?

Stretching can be a valuable part of your warm-up routine, but it must be dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching requires the body to go through a range of movement and more closely replicates the dynamic movements required in your physical activity.  Dynamic stretching is most effective prior to the start of an athlete’s training session, during the RAMP Protocol.

Static stretching is most effective at the end of a training session to help cool down and is used as a method for improving flexibility and mobility over time.  It is not recommended prior to training or to be used during the RAMP Protocol as static stretching can inhibit the muscles ability to perform at its optimal level.

 

If you would like to schedule a personalized training session with a member of our performance staff, feel free to reach out to us at performance@sportmanitoba.ca

 

[1] American Heart Association. Warm Up, Cool Down. Retrieved at https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/warm-up-cool-down