The warm-up period before a training session or competition serves several important purposes. For example, increasing body temperature will make muscles more pliable and may decrease the risk of soft tissue strains. Full range of motion movements increase synovial fluid in the joint capsule which aid in decreasing joint viscosity, allowing for more comfortable and efficient movement.
There is still some debate over how one should warm-up prior to training for the purposes of maximizing explosive neuromuscular performance (i.e., sprinting and jumping). Understanding how different warm-up procedures impact this specific biomotor quality can enable coaches to devise more specific warm-up routines. This is particularly important when minimal time is available which is often the case in most practical field settings.
A recent study published in the latest issue of Biology of Sport evaluated the effectiveness of a variety of traditional warm-up procedures on explosive neuromuscular performance. Ten athletes performed 5 warm-ups in a randomized, cross-over study design. The warm-up protocols were as follows:
1: Passive rest (Control)
2: Running (5 min at 70% MHR)
3: Stretching (5 min of static stretching exercise)
4: Jumping (5 min of counter-movement and drop-jumps, 3×8 each)
5: Combined (A combination of each warm-up modality)
Before and after each of the warm-up protocols, the subjects were tested in the squat-jump, counter-movement jump and 60 cm drop jump (specifically looking at height AND contact time here).
The results showed that squat jump performance was significantly improved from only the running and jumping warm-up protocols while passive rest resulted in a significant decrease. Counter-movement jump performance was significantly improved by all warm-up protocols except passive rest. 60 cm drop jump performance was significantly improved only following jumping and combined warm-ups. Contact time during the drop-jump was significantly improved only from the jumping warm-up.
The findings of this study suggest that including counter-movement jumps and drop–jumps in the warm-up will have a significant impact on explosive neuromuscular performance. Therefore, when speed or power are being trained in a session, it would be helpful to include these to enhance the specificity of the warm-up. Inclusion of various jumping drills in the warm-up preceding competition may also be useful for increasing explosive performance on the field.
Andrade, D. C., Henriquez-Olguin, C., Beltran, A. R., Ramirez, M. A., Labarca, C., Cornejo, M., … & Ramirez-Campillo, R. (2015). Effects of general, specific and combined warm-up on explosive muscular performance. Biol Sport, 32(2), 123-128.