Posts tagged dynamic warm up
Dynamic Warm Up Improves Club Head Speed and Shot Quality in Golfers

Golf remains one a popular American pastime with around 25 million participants each year. Many of these golfers strive for greater shot accuracy and driving distance in order to reduce their scores each round. Previous Physical Therapy research has shown greater driving distance in golfers after completing a Physical Therapy program consisting of hip and spine mobility, as well as, strength training for the lower quarter. Optimizing a golfer’s movement and golf swing also reduces their risk of pain during their round. A recent article analyzed the impact of a golf club warm up versus a dynamic warm up on driving distance and shot quality.

Photo Credit: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2018.

Photo Credit: International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2018.

Coughlan and colleagues studied male and female golfers before and after completing 3 different warm up conditions: no warm up, dynamic physical and club warm up, or a club warm up (IJSPT. 2018). The dynamic warm up consisted of 7 sport specific, short duration, whole body exercises designed to optimize mobility and muscle activation. In comparison, the golf club warm up consisted of warm up swings with different clubs through various ranges of the swing motion. The authors reported improved club head speed and shot quality after performing the dynamic and club warm up compared to the club warm up alone. Golfers are advised to work with their Physical Therapist on designing a golf specific dynamic warm up to optimize their golf play.

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Optimizing Your Warm and Cool Down with Foam Rolling and Dynamic Stretching
Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

The warm up is an essential element of any strength and endurance training session.  Starting your workouts with a proper warm up prepares your body for the upcoming demands of exercise, improves performance, and reduces your risk of injury.  In prior decades, warm ups consisted of brief aerobic activities followed by static (prolonged hold) stretching of major upper and lower body muscle groups.  As the scientific research on warm ups developed over the past decade we have come to better understand the detrimental effects of prolonged static stretching (>20 seconds) on upcoming athletic performance. 

Prior research has shown static stretching reduces sprint and distance running performance, decreases running economy and jumping performance, as well as, impairs strength testing.  Conversely, dynamic stretching involving short duration multi joint movements has been shown to reduce injury risk and improve performance in endurance and team sports.  These dynamic movements should closely mimic the demands of the athlete’s sport to assist in preparing the muscles and nervous system for optimal performance. 

Underlying this performance improvement is a phenomenon called post activation potential (PAP).  PAP describes the improvement in the muscular and nervous systems’ ability to communicate, contract, and perform immediately after brief, repetitive contractions of the given muscle.  An example of this phenomenon includes the use of a plyometric program where an athlete performs a larger jumping movement after a smaller preparatory jump.  The first jump primes the muscles and nervous system to produce a better performance on the second jump than would be possible with a single isolated jump. 

A second key area of our warm up should include foam rolling.  The repeated, short duration pressure applied by rolling equipment has been shown to improve mobility.  The mechanism behind this improvement is thought to be due to an improvement in the stretch tolerance of the muscle.  By reducing or eliminating the muscle’s signals to the nervous system to stop the pressure or stretch we are subsequently able to move through a greater range of motion.  Recent research highlights the benefits of working with a roller to both augment the effects of a dynamic warm up and improve recovery after training.

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dynamic warm up-calf-soft tissue mobilization

Scientific research in this area has highlighted the benefits of combining foam rolling and soft tissue mobilizations with dynamic warm up activities.  Athletes who performed soft tissue work on major upper and lower extremity muscles prior to performing dynamic, multi joint movements performed better than their peers who performed a dynamic warm up alone.  The soft tissue work likely allowed the participants to move through a greater range of motion during their dynamic warm up augmenting the effects of the dynamic movements alone.  Athletes are encouraged to perform their warm ups after foam rolling to maximize performance.

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thight-soft tissue mobilization-roller

Foam rolling and soft tissue mobilization should also be incorporated after workouts due to their positive impact on muscle recovery.  A recent review article in the International Journal of Sports Medicine examined the impact of foam rolling on range of motion, delayed onset muscle soreness, and performance (Cheatham et al. 2015).  The 14 combined research articles supported the use of foam rollers to improve short-term flexibility and range of motion.  Importantly, unlike static stretching, rolling was not found to have any detrimental effects on future muscle or athletic performance and can be used safely before training or events.  When used after a challenging workout rolling may accelerate recovery by reducing delayed onset muscle soreness and improving ensuing muscle performance.  Athletes should strike for 2-3 bouts of 45-60 seconds on affected muscle groups followed by gentle, static stretching for optimal cool downs and recovery. 

In summary, the foam roller and soft tissue mobilization tools are quickly gaining in popularity as essential warm up and cool down tools.  Utilization of this equipment has been shown to reduce pain and soreness, improve flexibility and recovery, as well as increase sports performance.  Athletes are encouraged to utilize this equipment as part of their daily training programs. 

Dynamic Warm Up and Running Performance

Our prior posts on dynamic warm ups have highlighted the benefits of these exercises on injury prevention and sports performance.  Conversely, static stretching has been associated with decreased performance due to a reduction in the ability of the stretched muscle to contract and perform dynamically during sport movements.  Clearly, the best option for both pro and amateur athletes is to incorporate dynamic exercises designed to gradually increase cardiac workload, prepare the nervous and muscular systems for the demands of upcoming activities, and improve performance. 

boulder physical therapy, dynamic warm up activities

Recently a study was conducted examining the impact of a dynamic warm up (pictured above) compared to non stretching in middle and long distance runners on upcoming running performance (Yamaguchi et al. J Strength Cond Res. 2015).  The dynamic group performed 1 set of 10 repetitions of each exercise covering all major muscle groups in the lower extremity.  These athletes were then tested for time to exhaustion when running at 90% of their VO2 max.  The authors noted improved time to exhaustion and total running distance in the dynamic group compared to the non stretching group.  Unfortunately, this was a small sample size and the authors did not include a third group performing static stretching.  The authors concluded that a dynamic warm up can improve running performance in middle to long distance races. 

boulder physical therapy, dynamic warm up, performance

Contact your local Physical Therapy experts on how a dynamic warm up can improve your performance and reduce your injury risk.

Maximizing Your Dynamic Sports Warm Up

In a previous post we highlighted the importance of a dynamic warm up to gradually increase cardiovascular work, improve mobility, decrease injury risk, and improve performance.  Conversely, traditional static stretching has been shown to reduce run, sprint, and jump performance in athletes.  Clearly, these static holds should be held until an athlete's cool down period after their practice or event.

The improvement in performance following dynamic warm up is attributed to a phenomenon known as post activation potential or PAP.  PAP is the improvement in the muscles and nervous system's ability to contract and perform immediately following a brief, short contraction of the muscles.  This dynamic contraction improves the communication between the nerves and the muscles, as well as, the ability of the muscle to receive commands from the nervous system.  One example of this would be utilization of plyometric exercises where one jump is immediately followed by a larger, faster second jump.  Many variables can influence PAP including intensity and duration of muscle contraction, an athlete's training status and the time between a dynamic activity and the performance of interest.  A recent article examined the impact of lunging, a standard part of any dynamic warm up, on jumping performance.  

Horan et al. examined 43 healthy adults (24 women) and measured the metrics behind their vertical jumps including height, peak vertical ground reaction forces, flight time, and others at both baseline and after a dynamic warm up consisting of multiple sets of alternating split squats (J Strength Cond Res. 2015).  The authors noted an increase in vertical jump height after up to 4 trials of 20 split squats.  The increase in jump height is thought to occur secondary to an improvement in the neural and muscular output of the lower quarter following the dynamic warm up.  

Athletes should utilize a dynamic warm up which reflects the demands of their individual sport to improve performance and reduce injury risk.  A lunge is an excellent lower quarter exercise for mobility and strength and can be utilized in multiple planes and directions of movement.  Consult your Boulder Physical Therapy experts for more information on how a dynamic warm up can improve your performance.    


Static vs. Dynamic Warm Up and Soccer Injuries

When we began playing sports, our pre game routines consisted of a cardiovascular warm up, some agility work, followed by static stretching (sustained holds >15 seconds of the muscles).  This type of stretching has fallen out of favor in the last decade because of the negative impact of static stretching on muscle performance.  Research has shown a negative impact of pre competition static stretching on running speed, jumping ability, and sports performance.  Conversely, a dynamic stretching program prior to competition accomplishes the warm up goals of increased body temperature, range of motion, and agility without any negative effects on performance.  In fact, some research shows a positive impact of a dynamic warm up on performance. 

Physical Therapy dynamic versus static warm up

A recent article in the Journal of Athletic Training (2014) examined the impact of this dynamic warm up on soccer injuries in collegiate male soccer players.  Grooms et al. compared the F-MARC 11+ dynamic warm up program consisting of cardiovascular, agility, strength, and balance with a traditional static warm up on injury rates in the upcoming soccer season.  Authors noted 8.1 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures overall with 291 days lost from competition compared with 2.2 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures and 52 days lost in the dynamic group.  The F-Marc 11+ reduced the risk of injury by 72% (RR = .28)

Physical Therapy dynamic warm up and injury rates

To learn more about how a dynamic warm up can reduce your injury risk in soccer contact the experts at Mend.