At NK Fitness we have been working with elite athletes and young athletes for nearly 3 decades.  From coaching junior rugby at Barnstaple Rugby Club and Towcestrians RFC, through to working with England Hockey’s national junior squads and Saracens U21 and U18 squads.  Since working with teams we’ve also worked with other junior squads for England Cricket and the Football Association during time spent at Lilleshall National Sports Centre.  Recently, we’ve been working hard to bring this knowledge and expertise to talented youngsters in Berkshire and Surrey.  And it all starts with warming up correctly.  Using a dynamic warm up has a number of benefits when training for youth athletes, some of which you may not have considered.  Here’s why we always look to start the session right by warming up dynamically:


General benefits of dynamic warm ups for young athletes.

  • Increase Heart Rate.  Everyone appreciates that heart rate needs to be gradually raised to that required in the main training session.  Failing to do this can leave your youth athletes struggling to keep pace in the training session at the start.  Don’t go too hard here though – choose steady paced rhythmical movements, eg. jogging, cycling, low impact skipping.
  • Increase Oxygen Uptake.  Youth athletes need to ensure that their energy metabolism is ‘good to go’.  Never underestimate the need for athletes to get their breathing rate up during the warm up.  For example, we may use Pillar Skips with our team sports athletes to raise breathing rate.
  • Raise Muscle Temperature.  Warm muscles move better.  Keeping athletes moving by using dynamic warm ups ensures that their muscles reach optimal temperatures to move well and get the most from training.  Saracens rugby would start warm ups wearing several layers, and gradually remove these as muscles warmed up.
  • Redirect Blood Flow to working muscle.  The blood is the transport and logistics for the working muscles.  Blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients and removes waste products.  Warming up dynamically ensures that this blood is going where its needed most.
  • Improve flexibility.  Warm muscles are more pliable and therefore flexible.  Dynamic movements, such as using inchworms when training for youth athletes, can increase the length of the athletes muscles.  This allows them to produce force over bigger ranges of motion and move more freely.  Both of these are important when practicing sport specific skills.
  • Increase mobility.  This is slightly different from flexibility and refers to the range of motion that muscles and joints allow.  Our dynamic warm ups with athletes ensure that they maximise their sports specific range of motion.  Remember that this is very different from trying to develop maximum range at every joint.  Rugby players do not need to be as flexible as gymnasts.  In fact it can be counter productive to over develop this quality.


Specific Benefits Associated with Dynamic Warm Ups

  • Establish Intensity for upcoming training.  Building interesting movements into the warm up can help focus young athletes on the task ahead.  The intensity and ‘tone’ for the session should be set both physically and mentally by the dynamism of the warm up.
  • Focus attention on desired movement patterns.  The warm up is a chance to practice and rehearse skills to be used during their sport.  Don’t miss the opportunity to develop skills in young athletes.  Whilst I may have said they can be too flexible, they can’t be too skilful.
  • Increase speed and force of muscle contractions.  Dynanic warm ups that incorporate movements specific to the sport will use the same nerves and muscles in a way that mimics the young athletes sport.  This makes performing these movement faster and easier over time.  We like to choose movements that give our young performers strength and control throughout their sporting movements.
  • Potentiate neuromuscular function.  A good dynamic warm up leaves athletes totally ‘primed’ and ready to go.  Think of them as like coiled springs – fully powered up.  Static strengthing during warm ups can counteract this.  We finish our warm ups when training for youth athletes with sports specific hopping and jumping movements.
  • Reduce the risk of injury.  All of the benefits above create young athletes that are able to move better, with more control and consistency.  Instantly they are at a reduced risk of injury.  In turn this means that they miss less sport specific training and cost less money in terms of healthcare.  It’s a win win

It’s easy to see why dyanmic warm ups are the way forward in youth sports.  We incorporate them with all of our young athletes to keep them better engaged as well as better prepared for their sport.  We are currently working with talented young performers from a rnage of sports – if you would like to see how we can benefit your childs performance please dont hesitate to get in touch here and we are only too happy to help.