The Perfect 6-Minute Warmup

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

Your next performance breakthrough may only be a new warmup away. According to research published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, a warmup incorporating squatting and whole-body vibration may be enough to boost your sprint power by 6 percent. But since you probably don’t have a whole-body vibration machine, what’s the best warm-up for you? No matter your sport, every good warm-up has a few distinct parts. Follow this three-step program adapted from the research of Andrea Fradkin, Ph.D., a professor at Bloomsburg University. Golfers who followed Fradkin’s protocol in...

Your next performance breakthrough may only be a new warmup away. According to research published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, a warmup incorporating squatting and whole-body vibration may be enough to boost your sprint power by 6 percent.

But since you probably don’t have a whole-body vibration machine, what’s the best warm-up for you? No matter your sport, every good warm-up has a few distinct parts.

Follow this three-step program adapted from the research of Andrea Fradkin, Ph.D., a professor at Bloomsburg University. Golfers who followed Fradkin’s protocol increased their stroke speed by up to 24 percent over 7 weeks.

2 Minutes: Aerobic Activity
The first part of your routine should be an aerobic exercise that targets the muscles you’ll be using and doubles as a dynamic stretch. This will raise your body temperature, which makes it easier for oxygen to enter your muscles, says Fradkin. A minute or two of walking lunges works—just don’t overdo it. A 2011 study at the University of Calgary showed that cyclists who performed a long and intense warmup lasting 50 minutes with intervals up to 95 percent of maximal heart rate put out 6.5 percent less power than when they stuck to a short, 15-minute routine at a low intensity ending in only a single sprint.

3 Minutes: Stretch
Which is better: static stretches—the kind you hold, like you were taught in grade school—or dynamic stretches, where you quickly move through a stretch? You’ve probably heard that dynamic stretches are best, but a combination of the two is ideal, Fradkin says. For sports like cycling and running, dynamic stretching improves power and flexibility while static stretching can help your posture and position on the bike.  (For a quick flexibility plan, check out musclemorphosis.com.) And don’t be worried about putting a damper on your explosive power with static stretching. A 2011 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that static stretches lasting in the 30-second range had no detrimental effect on performance.

1 Minute: Take a Practice Swing
The last part of your warmup should “incorporate activities equivalent to those that will be used in ensuing performance,” says Fradkin. If you’re heading into the gym to work on your deadlifts, do a few reps without any weight—and perfect form. The goal is to prime your brain-body connection to make the movements feel natural while keeping your body warm. For skill-based sports, visualize yourself whacking the ball. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, people who imagined themselves sinking free-throws—without shooting the ball—showed a 23 percent improvement in shots made when they were retested.

If you liked this story, you’ll love these:

  • musclemorphosis.com
  • musclemorphosis.com
  • musclemorphosis.com