How to warm up – by Jack Bridge
Before doing any exercise it is important to warm up. Warming up gets your muscles ready for exercise, raises your heart rate, and helps prepare you physically and mentally for the sport or activity you’re about to do. A good warm up is essential, and I always devote time to doing one, whether I’m just doing a training session or competing in a competition.
As well as reducing the risk of injury and muscle soreness, warming gets your body ready for activity so can make you faster and better once you actually start swimming. When your body is warmer your muscles and joints become more flexible and your movement and ability is improved. A good warm up stimulates blood flow and improves circulation around the whole body, making you ready to get active. It also boosts your nervous system and makes you more aware of your body in the water.
The first thing you need to do is get your body moving. A brisk walk is a great way to do this. Why not walk to your local pool instead of driving? If you can’t walk, try doing some star jumps or jumping jacks to raise your heart rate. Stretching cold muscles can result in injury, so it’s important that you get blood to them first.
Next, it’s time to activate your muscles. Work through each body part – neck, shoulders, arms, and legs. Stretch for 15-20 seconds so that you’re really working it and limbering up. Dynamic movements such as lunges, kicks, and arm swings are great, as they take you through a range of movement and replicate the activity you’ll be doing in the pool. This helps increase flexibility and agility, activates the parts of the body you will use in your workout, and improves your body’s ability to function effectively.
Here’s a few essential moves –
- Neck – gently roll your neck from side to side and up and down, moving it slowly as you do.
- Shoulders – bring your shoulders right up to your ears, breathe deeply, and let them go. This releases tension, and feels great.
- Arms – swing your arms back and forth a few times, to get them moving
- Quads – step forward with one leg and bend at the knee, until both legs are at 90 degree angles, in a lunge.
- Calves – stand on tip toes and raise your heels up and down a few times, tensing your calves as you do.
Remember to breathe deeply while you warm up, as it helps get oxygen to your muscles – and that’s where your power in the water will come from.
When you get into the pool do a few easy and gentle lengths, before powering into a full workout. These lengths still count towards your total record, so remember to add them to your log (PDF, 634KB)
So now you’re all warmed up, it’s time to get swimming!