How-to: Winter Warm-Up

No More Weakly Warriors: Winter Warm Up

Words: Chris Kilmurray/Point1 Athletic

Unless you are lucky enough to be living somewhere warmer than I am this winter then warming up before your training session or ride is not only going to be as important as ever but due to the cold temperatures and very dry or very moist air, then that warm-up is going to be a little trickier to get right!

Chris Kilmurray.
Chris Kilmurray.

In this short article I’m going to cover some simple hows, whys and tips to improve or maximise your warm-ups with a few added winter tips!

Why do it?

Most people know they should do a warm-up of some sort prior to training, riding or racing. Why? Well that is a golden question! To improve performance, decrease the risk of injury, prepare yourself psychologically, follow the crowd or feel like a “pro”?

The reasons to warm-up are as varied as the type of warm-ups you can do but at its core a warm-up should prepare body and mind to meet all the physical, technical and psychological demands of whatever it is you are going to do for your main activity!

The simple question to ask is what do you want to achieve from your warm-up? The answer: readiness!

What does it do?

For almost every study that you could read that says a warm-up achieves A, B or C, you could find one to contradict that. Regardless, warming up prior to sport is totally accepted as best practice, why? Because it works! How does it work? Well there is a clue in the name, most of the positive performance effects of any warm-up lie in an increase in temperature within the body.

-       Decreased resistance to movement in muscles and joints – “fluidity”

-       More efficient releases of oxygen from blood to muscles

-       Quicker metabolic reactions

-       Improved speed of nerve “firing” or conduction

All of the above are caused by an increase in temperature both in the core and in your limbs, so obviously having a portion of your warm-up dedicated to simply getting “warm” is crucial to its effectiveness! This is where winter starts to change our approach slightly but we’ll talk about in more detail further on.

The other areas of benefit we get from a warm-up come from non-temperature related effects.

Increased flow of oxygenated blood to muscles

Psychological readiness

Confidence, technical reassurance

PAP – Post Activation Potentiation, (sounds complicated but it’s not!)

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