One of the most common topics I get asked about is what I have our girls team do for a warm up. Many people have heard me talk about my newer ideas for flexibility, and wonder how they practically show sup in training. The warm up is one big place we put these concepts in. It is a critical parts to daily training, and unfortunately one of the most common places I see errors in our sport.
Over the last 4 years I have greatly changed how I design our warm up based off of current flexibility research, my experiences treating gymnasts with injuries, friends / colleagues who have taught me, and other great available literature. To help the gymnastics community out, I figured I would share our entire warm up rather than have people keep asking me similar questions and feeling overwhelmed leaving one of my lectures.
I have split our entire warm up over 2 posts so the videos were not too long. Keep in mind, this fourth version is still being taught to many of our athletes who recently moved up and the video below certainly isn’t perfect yet. I hope people can take away the concepts knowing there is no one perfect way to do a warm up, and also understanding that just like any other gym we have quite a range of athletes. This is just my approach to it.
The general threads in this half of our warm up include
- Soft Tissue Prep (usually started 10 min before practice). Daily soft tissue maitenence is a must. Extra time is spend on common areas like calves, groin, quads, lats/teres major, pecs, and so on. Athletes with individual movement prep programs may do those instead
- Non Impact Based Joint / Muscular Prep. I personally feel soft tissue work and this step are crucial to do before running or other more dynamic stretching is performed. I get concerned when the body is not warm or soft tissue is not prepared to start aggressive running and jumping parts of a warm up. As you can see I have our girls work through neck, shoulders, wrists, hips, knees, etc.
- Metabolic / Cardiovascular Prep – More traditional running and skipping type laps geared more at increasing body temperature following soft tissue and light joint prep.
- Dynamic Stretching – Series of multi-plane dynamic stretches through full ranges of motion always with control and technique as the emphasis. See subtitles for more specific details, but I try to emphasize working from easier single planes to more complex or multi-plane movements.
In my view, during any warm up we are looking to
- Activate the nervous and muscular system for the training load
- Prepare the available range of motion that will be used during training
- Increase body temperature
- Move within all planes of movement, including rotational and expanded ranges needed for gymnastics
- Practice critical “basics” of movement and gymnastics technique such as core control, landing mechanics, hollow/arch shapes, handstands, and more
I hope this is helpful for readers, and gives some insight into how I tie my ideas together practically into training programs. Most of this may not be ground breaking for people, but the order and some of what I do (or intentionally don’t do) may be. In the next few weeks I will get out the remainder of the warm up. Best of luck,
– Dave Tilley DPT, SCS