Guest article by Jesse Irizarry over at Strengtheory. I personally think that some people spend to much time and effort on their warm ups. Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone needs to warm up to a point just not as crazy and extreme as some get. Jesse covers this subject after reviewing over 70 peer-reviewed articles. Check it out!
Note on source material: A couple of years back, I reviewed over 70 peer-reviewed articles on warming up for Bret Contreras. He posted my notes to his site here. If you’re interested in going through everything I did to reach the conclusions I’m going to share in this article, you can check that out.
Any discussion of warm-ups usually includes opinions on three basic topics:
- How to figure out the objective of the warm-up, and what qualities we’re trying to address and possibly improve.
- The use of static stretching versus dynamic stretching techniques.
- How to include methods that increase performance in the following training or competition through means such as post-activation potentiation (usually referred to as PAP).
Most recommendations on warm-ups are based on the opinions of coaches or on anecdotal evidence – both of which can be fine. But I wanted to see if there was concrete evidence in the research regarding best practices, so I would have more than my biased opinion and experience to share. That’s not to say all conclusions taken from research are clear or applicable to elite lifters and athletes; subjects are often untrained or have limited training history. And, of course, training age and history play a huge role in what warm-up practices will be most appropriate.
Rather than prescribing a specific practice, my purpose for this article is to provide a clear picture of what a useful warm-up does not look like, according to the majority of research done on the subject. I’ll also discuss some practical takeaways based on my personal experience as a coach dealing with real, breathing human beings with varying levels of ability and training experience.
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