Introduction to Warming Up
A warm up is intended to raise the body temperature and prepare
a player physiologically and psychologically to compete in a competitive
game. Research has suggested that the optimum duration of the warm
up period, before flexibility or functional activities are undertaken,
should be between 15 and 20 minutes. This should consist of a gradual
increase in intensity until the player is working at 70% of maximal
heart rate. A warm up at this intensity has the effect of allowing
an increase in the range of movement of the joints and improving
aerobic performance. This means the player becomes more flexible
and running efficiency improves.
A warm up produces a 2 to 3 degree rise in body temperature that
can last for 45 minutes. This increase in temperature leads to beneficial
changes in body tissue:
- The heating effect allows muscles and tendons to become more
extensible. This makes stretching muscles and tendons easier and
more effective. Research has suggested that this decreases the
incidence of muscle strains.
- There is an increase in blood flow, which means that there is
an increase in oxygen to muscle tissue.
- There is an increase in the temperature of the blood, which
changes the partial pressure of blood gases. This means that more
oxygen leaves the blood and enters muscle tissue.
- The increase in temperature causes a rise in enzyme and metabolic
activity. This improves the efficiency of muscle contraction.
- By carrying out functional activities such as sprinting or
kicking the ball in the later stages of the warm up, there will
be an activation of neural pathways, which speeds up reaction
time during a match.
In addition to the physiological effects, the warm up has the effect
of preparing the player psychologically by encouraging them to focus
on the physical activity to follow.
Pre-match warm up >
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