Football season is fast approaching, with my Grand River Predators (check out our new name!) winter camp starting in 3 days! I got together with a fellow AT today to come up with a great dynamic warm up for the team this year. New coach, new rules, new warm up. We shot around some ideas of what should be targeted in a warm up for football, and really any sport. What is the purpose of the warm up, why do we do it, what should we be doing, and most importantly how should we be doing it? There are a lot of good warm up regimes out there that target all the right areas; increasing blood flow to the entire body, increasing heart rate and respiration, lubricating the joints and preparing your body for the stress of what you are going to put it through in practice and games. What I have come to realize over the years is that the execution of each movement and understanding their purpose, is what makes all the difference. Doing high knees is a wonderful exercise to incorporate into your warm up, but is it effective if you only do 5 reps? Probably not. Quickly moving the arms and feet in high repetition is what is going to actually accomplish the goals of a warm up. You don’t need a large area to do this, but driving the knees up, instead of the body forward, will accomplish more reps. We talked about all the variations of each movement and how they can be changed and challenged. Take a lunge for example, many teams lunge and side bend all at once. Is that effective? It can be if executed correctly, but most athletes have never been taught to lunge in the first place. Does adding a side bend actually bring you closer to your goal of warming up the quads? We opted for a basic lunge and teaching them the purpose and proper positioning of the pelvis to get the optimal stretch through the anterior quad. We are striving to prevent injuries this season, and the first step in prevention is a good warm up!