Part 2: Run Faster in 15min!
I hope you have read part one, so you don't feel lost. Here is the link to it https://www.coachflorence.com/single-post/2017/09/07/Get-Faster-in-15min-During-Warm-Ups-Part-1
Now, let's get to the meat and potatoes of the article. And don't forget the A1 sauce (if you are a vegan or vegetarian, and offended, I apologize. I love my steaks).
As a Strength & Conditioning Coach for Springfield High School for the Varsity Football Program, the warm up for practice or even for the Games is vital because to get the teenagers to really focus during their warm-up to get the benefits from a proper warm up (Top 5 Benefits From Warming Up). Not properly preparing your team for action can affect the game more than people can understand. When you watch professional athletes, they spend a massive amount of time to prepare their body and mind just before competition. There is a performance gauge that we need to discuss to further understand. There is a law, yes a law, called the Yerkes-Dodson law that states that an athlete’s performance can be directly affected based on arousal levels. To get “In The Zone,” we need to have optimal arousal levels. These arousal levels are attributed from the “Fight or Flight” sympathetic nervous system releasing adrenaline from the mental and emotional responses to stress producing stimuli. Too much arousal can also lead to a decrease performance from high levels of stress just fyi (Krahenbul, 1975).
Yerkes-Dodson Law Graph
This is also a reason why some athletes are faster during a game than in practice. For example, the 40yd drill examines football player’s ability to accelerate within 40 yards. There have been numerous athletes who have tested poorly, i.e. Jerry Rice, but are faster during the game. Jerry Rice said it himself that he ran scared on the field, which in turn effected his performance on the field. That extra arousal allowed for improved performance compared to a test that doesn’t have much stressing stimuli to have an athlete run at their true max speed.
Now, getting “In The Zone” is not easy to do. Top athletes tend to get in the zone more than average and below average athletes. I mean think about it, what if you could get into the zone every time you hop under a squat bar or at the line of a 100m race? I bet you just vision personal bests at will! I see too many athletes and gym goers who perform half-ass warm-ups by using exercises that do not excite their nervous system or mimic the task they are about to perform. I feel so sorry for their workout. They are just telling their workout and body that they do not care for GAINS.
I will give an example of novice runners. Before they even start their run, they begin by stretching the muscles while they are cold like a Budweiser sitting in the refrigerator. Perform a quad stretch, then ankle stretch, and arm across the body stretch (no relevance to running). Then they take off for their run. I don't understand why they would even do static stretches at all when they're about to do an exercise that's plyometric because you are bounding which means that you are jumping horizontally to move the body forward in space. Now you are using the elasticity of your ligaments tendons of the muscles to help propel the body forward by transferring forces from each strike into the ground. Stretching the muscles cold can potential tear the muscle or lengthen it which decreases elasticity. Their joints are not lubricated with synovial fluid to help with shock absorption and movement. Body temperature is not elevated, blood output is not elevated to match the level of exercise to the working muscles, and tendons are stiff. With 15min of preparation can help their body be ready for their run and reduce possible mechanic issues by activating the muscles. Furthermore, a better posture during the run in which the muscles are activated during certain degrees of the leg strike to make a big difference on their time and speed.
Now, I know you care about your gains because I care about my GAINS too, especially my athletic GAINS. Before I even play a pick-up game of basketball I perform my routine warm-up that gets me ready mentally and physically to give a better effort because it is good conditioning. Very little workout enthusiast and athletes realize that a proper warm-up can improve their athleticism over time if you do it correctly. I have implemented a high performance based warm-up into my off-season training for the upcoming 2018 professional indoor football season or overseas (I haven’t decided yet). Within the warm-up, I perform muscle activation exercises so they can clock in to work. I also work on my mechanics for a Sprint, lateral movement, jumping, skipping, turning, back peddling etc. Now, I am not performing these exercises nonchalant neither because this is a training session! Yes, the warm-up is a workout. You are also training your body’s efficiency which trains your mechanics, and I try to get a good sweat going and short of breath so I can destroy my training session because I can begin at 100% effort.
Furthermore, an effective warm-up can reduce the likelihood of an injury, especially a soft tissue injury, because the body is not ready for the stresses you are placing onto it. I see too many people use pre-workouts and other supplements to get them ready for a session mentally. However, that just shows how unprepared they are mentally and physically. They want just to want to get the workout done, especially if it just lifting weights. To get stronger you break the muscles down and recover stronger and bigger. However, if you perform a warm-up with activation, you can break that muscle down even more because you can recruit more motor units. In addition, lift a little more weight. Supplements are to assist a foundation that has already been built, not lead. On that first on back squats or sprint, and you hear something pop or pull. Well let’s have Terry Crews tell why it happened….
So, this should tell you that a warm-up is just as important as the training session. people tend to overlook the importance of it and I feel that's why some injuries occur because the body is not properly ready for the stresses placed on the body. Start putting real effort into your warm-up, and see if it is making a real difference in your progress towards your goals. In PART 3, I will give an athletic routine that helps me during my weight lifting, and speed & agility sessions.
Release Your Inner Athlete!
Krahenbuhl, G. S. (1975). Adrenaline, arousal and sport. The Journal of Sports Medicine, 3(3), 117-121. doi:10.1177/036354657500300304