Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. The link between warm ups, preparation and performance. Surely only athletes that need to worry about it? Not necessarily. Here, lead strength and conditioning coach Nathan Kelly explains why preparation is key for all when it comes to exercise. Athletes and non-athletes read on.
Being athletically fit for purpose
The Covid-19 lockdown has hampered the traditional season for all athletes. At NK Fitness we are busy training young athletes for a return to sport. Each sport will implement a different strategy over varying time frames. One consistent theme across sports is that Covid cut the season short. This means that most athletes haven’t experienced the normal volumes of sport specific conditioning for this time of year.
There has been a prolonged off season this year. In theory this creates a long pre-season, which can be used positively to develop general conditioning. However, athletes simply haven’t had the volume of high intensity and sport specific movement that they nromally do. Therefore, the challenge is to provide appropriate levels of high intensity movement in the programmes of our athletes. This includes specific warm ups. Failure to do so could predispose athletes to injury upon their return to play.
Preparation for exercise and recreational athletes
Those of us that do not like to compete are in a similar situation. We may have been able to keep our general exercise regime on point during lockdown. But how much thought are we really giving exercise? Is it preparing us for our day to day life as well as it could?
Most injuries occur because of poor warm ups or preparation. We need warm ups to reflect the movements and intensities of our daily physical activity levels. How many times have you skipped a warm up, or shortened it, because you’re running late? Doing so, places the body under immense pressure, and risk of injury.
Being aware of movements is also important. Running to get fit for football is not enough. Yes, it develops cardiovascular endurance and perhaps strength of the lower body. However, long runs alone will not prepare muscles and joints for the changes in direction required in football. It’s during the high intensity movements that the injuries are more likely to occur. Many forms of training only involve moving in one direction – forward and backwards. However, our sports and daily activities need movement in other planes, such as sideways or rotation.
Whatever the level of sport, small changes will keep you safe. Make sure that warm ups are long enough. They should also include movements in all planes of motion. That way the body isn’t ‘shocked’ when your competing or going about daily business.
NK Fitness are highly experienced strength and conditioning coaches. However, this doesn’t mean that we just work with athletes. We apply our knowledge of human movement to a wide variety of clients. Their goals differ greatly. If you would like more information on how we can help you please contact us here.