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Should You Warm Up ?

Discussion in 'Gator Country Health and Fitness' started by Dreamliner, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it's a provocative question. But the following study is very interesting. A group of competitive swimmers were divided into three groups: (1) did usual extensive warmup (2) did very brief warmup (3) did no warmup.

    See how they did:

    http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com
  2. ATL_Gator
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    ATL_Gator Well-Known Member

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    I read it a bit different.

    A group of swimmers completed the study, each completing a trial at each of the targeted warm ups (48 hours between each swim/warm up test).

    -----

    Interesting results, not sure what to make of them though. I read them and see data that says, yes, warm up "completely"...

    Average Time (st-dev).. what matters in a race.
    Regular warm up: 24.95 (1.53)
    Short warm up: 25.26 (1.61)
    No warm up: 25.19 (1.54)

    Taking things at average.. warm up. You should be faster.

    Looking at the individual results.
    44% posted their best time after an extensive warm up.
    19% posted their best time after a short warm up.
    37% posted their best time with no warm up. (interesting).

    Still seems to say that to perform you best.. warm up completely.

    Interesting that the short warm up was pretty much the worst overall. Though leads some credit to the addage... "if you aren't going to do it right, you are better of doing nothing at all"

    For what it's worth... the sample size of the test was only 16 (8 male, 8 female). I don't think that there was repeated data taken either. I think the 16 did 1 timed 50 meters after a particular warm up... It would be interesting to see both a larger participant size and each participant repeating each condition multiple times.
  3. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Sure, small sample. Interesting nonetheless. My takeaway is that there was virtually no difference in performance between extensive warmup and no warmup. Now, obviously I'm not going to tell anyone not to warm up. Moreover, swimming might be a little different than preparing to lift 400 pounds from the floor. But even at that I would be inclined to abbreviate.
  4. LeafUF
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    LeafUF Well-Known Member

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    I have no further insights on this just wanted to share the similar thread at the bottom of the page.

    How I Warm Up
  5. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Hehe, and my warmup still looks pretty much like that. Takes about 3-5 minutes. Probably roughly equivalent, in terms of exertion, to the middle alternative in the study.

    However, that's for strength training, not a primarily aerobic activity like distance swimming. When I was into distance running, I never really warmed up. Didn't know there was such a thing. I might walk the slightest bit, break into a jog and gradually pick up pace. It was pretty organic, not the sort of thing that had me thinking, "Gee, I'm warming up here." And sometimes I'd just bolt out the front door. Depended on how I was feeling.

    One other thing: when I was a dyed-in-the-wool HIT proponent ... there was no warmup whatsoever. None. The first two or three reps of the life-flashing-before-my-eyes set served as a sort of 'built-in' warmup, I suppose.
  6. BossaGator
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    BossaGator VIP Member

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    My warmup consists of a short cardio-type movement to raise core temperature. Usually running anywhere from 400-1000m, rowing 500-1000m, a bunch of jumping jacks, or what have you. Once the core is no longer cold I dynamically stretch areas where I have tightness or range of motion problems (mainly the shoulders, neck/back, and lower back). Then I do some warmup reps of whatever movements I am working that day at a light weight (if I'm using weights for that movement) to grease the groove a bit. Then, hit it.

    If I'm doing a conditioning/metcon workout I get the core warm and stretch a bit, while not using any more energy to warmup than necessary since I know I'll likely need it all.
  7. ATL_Gator
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    ATL_Gator Well-Known Member

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    I can tell a HUGE difference in my knees if I go out and play basketball at near full speed (for me) if I don't warm up.

    Normally, I do either 5 minutes on the bike or 500 meters on the rowing machine.

    -------

    Interesting study, though i think the sample size is too small to draw any decent conclusions from. I also didn't see much/any notation on the setup of the study, granted I scanned most of it. Did everyone do the same warmup, then test on the same day, at the same time? Or was it mixed up? Multiple testings would/could also reduce some other influences that COULD affect overall performance... such as tests later in the week could have generally be "better" than tests completed on a Monday due to social influences/feelings? Need more data.

    -------

    This study is an attempt to provide biomechanical support for the athletic practice of warming up prior to an exercise task to reduce the incidence of injury. Tears in isometrically preconditioned (stimulated before stretching) muscle were compared to tears in control (nonstimulated) muscle by examining four parameters: 1) force and 2) change of length required to tear the muscle, 3) site of failure, and 4) length-tension deformation. The tibialis anterior (TA), the extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and flexor digitorum longus (EDL) mus cles from both hindlimbs of rabbits comprised our experimental model.

    Isometrically preconditioned TA (P < 0.001), EDL (P < 0.005), and FDL (P < 0.01) muscles required more force to fail than their contralateral controls. Preconditioned TA (P < 0.05), EDL (P < 0.001), and FDL (P < 0.01) muscles also stretched to a greater length from rest before failing than their nonpreconditioned controls. The site of failure in all of the muscles was the musculotendinous junction; thus, the site of failure was not altered by condition. The length-tension deformation curves for all three muscle types showed that in every case the preconditioned muscles attained a lesser force at each given increase in length before failure, showing a relative increase in elasticity, although only the EDL showed a statistically significant difference. From our data, it may be inferred that physiologic warming (isometric preconditioning) is of benefit in preventing muscular injury by increasing the and length to failure and elasticity of the muscle-tendon unit.


    http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/16/2/123.short

    Maybe max exertion during swimming doesn't challenge the maximal force a muscle can handle? However, this study shows a direct correlation to muscular capability and preconditioning.
  8. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Whereas injuries can and do occur swimming, still, it may not be as taxing as deadlifts and snatches. Also, I didn't catch the general age-range of the participants. If young, then yes, the body is certainly more forgiving. I swam competitively, when I was a kid, and never recall any sort of structured warmup. Green hair, itchy eyes and the occasional mouthful of water are the only rigors I recall.

    FYI: a warmup of some sort is my default recommendation. But I would never turn it into a workout. Minimum Effective Dosage here as well. Just my M.O.

    Since you mention your knees, mine are quite fussy as well. My curse is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, that mysterious ailment for which relief is generally short-lived and/or elusive. Sometimes it just needs rest.

    Nonetheless, the warmup is still to-the-point and minimalist. However - and this may go to your above study - I do put my knees through a bit of rigor prior to, say, pistol squats. I'll typically prime the knees with a few, deep knee-bends at a deliberate tempo. I will then settle in at the bottom and, holding a prop, vigorously extend the free leg to replicate the most challenging part of the movement - the bottom. So, this instinctive sort of ritual does incorporation both isotonic and isometric contraction.

    Anyway, this only takes a couple of minutes but is vigorous enough such that I have to take a bit of a breather before I commence the pistols. The perceived level of exertion registers, "Gee, this might not make for a bad cardio workout if it was a little longer."

    Put another way: I don't "warm up the joints" with endless bicycle pumping motions and such. Rather, I get right down to some elemental sort of contortion that *begins* to approximate the rigor of the primary movement but not so rigorous as to affect the performance of the exercise to come. This sorts with my overall philosophy of playing on the edge, so to speak. If alien walkers storm my neighborhood I may not have time for a structured warmup before hauling ass with my wife on my back.
  9. your_perfect_enemy
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    your_perfect_enemy Well-Known Member

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    I'm not saying the results are inaccurate but as a former swimmer myself I find the method of this study pretty flawed in terms of drawing any type of conclusion about effectiveness, at least based on my understanding of the study. They just came to the pool three separate days and swam a single 50 with the different warm up each day right?

    Aside from the small sample size, it doesnt appear there was much constant as to what was done with other workouts later, what rest they got, what they ate etc. Additionally a 50 free is such a short race that not everyone swims, varying by a second or so day to day is not that out the blue, regardless of warmup. A bad start or flip turn (if on a short course) could greatly alter the time or even which lane they are in or who they're swimming next to (yes you can actually draft in swimming). Further very few people will only swim a single 50 at a meet or practice, it seems silly to not time other strokes/distances, a full workout or at least to multiple trials.

    Quite frankly I find it embarassing this person turned this in as thesis
  10. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Are you biased towards and extensive warmup ?
  11. your_perfect_enemy
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    your_perfect_enemy Well-Known Member

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    I don't really know if a warmup is necessary, I think it's really more whatever you feel like on an individual basis. At least for swimming I guess you could say I'm biased. I know I couldn't make it through (or at least be respectable during) a full workout or even a longer race with out a decent warmup and a good strech. However now that I have started running I am much more like you and barely do anything (swing my legs forward and back and do a couple of skips to loosen my hips/back) before I go.

    My problem with this guys thesis is how incredilbly flawed his methodology is. To try and come to any conclusion (pro or anti warmup) based on 16 swimmers doing 3 sprints can barely considered anectodal, let alone basis for research for a thesis.
  12. your_perfect_enemy
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    your_perfect_enemy Well-Known Member

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    I don't mean my posts as anything negative against you for posting it Dream as it's certainly a topic worth discussion
  13. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    No, I understand. Based on what I see (studies are all over the place), it behooves me to take these sorts of things with a grain of salt. Though they may be suggestive.

    As a trainer, for me, the warmup is not an afterthought. It is, I suspect, as important to tailor the warmup to the individual as it is to tailor the workout to the individual. In my experience, some may require more than others.

    And to cite one example: I'm training a 55-year old man who wants to lose 60 pounds. His workout consists of bodyweight squats, pushups and bad rows done circuit style.

    He is a former collegiate athlete who moves well, for his girth, has no notable aches and pains, has no heart contraindications (he recently had an extensive CV workup) and is usually ready to get on with it. Therefore, he doesn't actually do a warmup. Rather, as bodyweight squats are first up, the first go-round of squats serve as his warmup. Then, we he moves to pushups, I simply cue him to set up properly and perform the first two or three reps carefully and deliberatly.

    No, I don't use this approach for all my clients. But none of my clients are getting much more than an abbreviated dynamic warmup.
  14. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    FYI: for the healthy individual, I don't see anything wrong with the healthy individual acclimating his/her body to unaccustomed stress. Again, when do crises in life afford you the opportunity to get in a good warmup ? Sometimes you are simply called to act. Therefore, it might, repeat: MIGHT be a useful pursuit to sometimes (not always) just get into a workout.

    Even people with heart disease might be better served to eventually subject their hearts to sudden stress. No, NO, I would never try this with an at-risk client apart from highly-specific directions from the attending physician. I'm simply suggesting that we may not be helping people if we continue to coddle them.
  15. oI2ange
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    oI2ange Premium Member

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    I really enjoy my warm up before workout. It helps me perform alot better, both with that specific act and the ones following it.

    That said, my physical activity is much different than lifting- I rock climb for my work out and have not lifted in years.
  16. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Why not just grab on and pull ? :wink:

    My wife loves rock climbing though.
  17. G8RBrave
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    G8RBrave Super Moderator VIP Member

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    I may be doing it wrong, but I've always done a warmup where I do a very low weight of what I'm about to do. Today I did deadlifts, so I just did a set of 15 really slow, deliberate deadlifts with no weight on the bar. Then I hit my 5-3-1 set.

    Has always worked well for me.
  18. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Hey, whatever works. But just to get technical, what you're doing is commonly defined as a 'specific warmup.' The going advice is to precede the specific warmup with a general warmup.

    Ex: for my (B) workout all I do is deadlifts. So, for the general warmup I may do some bodyweight squats, multi-directional lunges, scapular wall-slides, etc. Takes 3-5 minutes. Then the specific warmup would be a single set of light deadlifts.

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