Warm-Up Why we Do It

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This article was edited and updated on November 8, 2015.

Can warm-up prevent injuries?

This is a question often asked by elite athletes as well as daily fitness participants. There is a widely held belief that static stretching (holding a stretch for a few seconds) before exercise will prevent injuries. However, research over the last several years suggests that a pre-exercise warm-up should not be simply static stretching. What, then, should it look like?

The answer, according to some Norwegian researchers, is with warm-ups that “improve strength, awareness, and neuromuscular control.” This means practicing coordination and control during a warm-up. While static stretching has its place in the fitness class (usually at the end), it is not a part of this type of warm-up, which I call warm-up mobilizations.

In a Norwegian study, the researchers compared injuries in over a thousand female footballers who participated in this type of warm-up for a season, to another group of several hundred who stayed with the more traditional stretching warm-up. The athletes who did the coordination and control warm-up had fewer traumatic and overuse injuries — and the injuries they did have were less severe. 2

What are the benefits of warm-up?

According to The CFES Group Exercise Instructor Course, a warm-up accomplishes all of the following:

Warm-Up is Essential

It would seem that the research is clear: warming up before training is a good idea.

See also:

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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