STOP SKIPPING YOUR WARMUPS! -Adam Harder

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Adam Harder – AHard779

Becoming a wrestling coach has been very beneficial in my line of work. As a personal trainer and coach, something that I stress the most is a proper warmup. Many teams out there are either rushing through it or they fail to take it as seriously as needed. You see it all the time—kids joking around, shoving each other or giving quarter effort because ‘it’s dumb.’ Well I’m here to tell you it’s not. It pains me to think of all the coaches that go by the “ever see a lion stretch before he chases a gazelle” mentality. No, I have not, but I also know I do not have the same mobility or same muscle tissues as a 400 pound lion. I’m also not exerting 30 seconds of energy and then slowing down. Though his logic may seem correct, you must realize that you are not a lion and you need to warm up.

First, your warm up should be specific to what you are doing. If you are a wrestler you should be doing wrestling movements. Same goes for a basketball player, you should be doing basketball movements. It isn’t rocket science, but some coaches lack the knowledge of putting a beneficial warmup together. Some exercises are multi-sport like movements high knees, butt kicks, etc., but there is no need to have a basketball player be doing duck walks. It is not a position they are in often, if EVER, but for a wrestler it would be a great tool to throw in.

Coaches also need to monitor the teams effort in warmups. I know that is about like watching paint dry, but it’s super beneficial because then you can see who needs what attention or work where and it keeps the kids in check. I used warming up as a tool to get better in wrestling movements. One legged hops to become more explosive, caterpillars to become more flexible and to add core stability. It doesn’t seem like you could get that much better from just a simple dynamic warm up but if you are concentrating on the movement then they can help tremendously. This is why some responsibility falls on the coaches to make sure their athletes are giving max effort.

Something that coaches also need to take into account is that kids have been mainly sitting around for the past 8 hours. The body needs a little time to adjust to going into a full blown practice. I would run an exercise 3 times to make sure the kids were ready. High Knees were performed slow and used as a stretch, then the next time down we would go at moderate speed and the final would be a faster pace. Next would be butt kicks again, where the kids would go slow, medium and fast. I found this was not only a great way to warm up, but the kids would actually be breathing hard after it and eventually learned to use the “slow” speed for exactly what it is intended for; STRETCHING.

Implementing warmups and using them properly will help you keep your kids safe and allow them to reach full potential in practices and in matches or games. We, as humans do not have the ability to go from 0-100 in a matter of seconds. Get the most out of your athletes by always getting warm first! Do not skip another warm up!

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