Warming up is one of the most important phases of exercise. Thanks to it our muscles and our circulatory system are prepared to assume a greater expense of energy than usual, thanks to the mediation of the endocrine system and its hormonal regulation.

However, it should be borne in mind that there are several types of sports warm-up depending on the type of physical activity you are going to use when playing sports. In this article we’ll look at a summary of these categories and their characteristics.

What is pre-sport warm-up?

The general concept of sports warm-up refers to a series of exercises that have the objective of making several groups of muscles in the body work at the same time, so that the body prepares itself for the demands of the sport and enters a state of activation in which it is possible to make physical efforts.

Basically, it is about making the body give its best and that the investment of efforts leads to an optimal performance , minimizing the risk of injuries and achieving better goals.

This is done by raising the temperature of the muscles and accelerating the heart rate, processes that allow a quick and efficient release of force.

The main types of sports warm-up

Let’s now look at the types of warm-ups before exercise, and what their functions are.

1. General heating

The main function of the general warm-up is to prepare as many muscles as possible for the coming activity, without focusing on a particular muscle group . It is used so that the whole body enters, in a global manner, a phase of activation and optimisation of calorie burning.

To do this type of heating, movements are made that do not involve exerting much force. In other words, exercises that activate muscles distributed throughout the body and of medium or moderate intensity . For example, walking on the elliptical or running without sprinting.

2. Specific heating

In the segmented, or specific, warm-up, we work with the muscles and joints that are directly involved in the type of exercise we are going to perform.

Normally, this type of warm-up consists of doing the exercise that we will later do, practicing it with low or very low intensity. For example, if we are going to do a bench press, the segmented warm-up will be to lift the bar by adding discs that weigh very little, so that we can do many repetitions .

While the general warm-up is done once and applies to the whole session, it is possible (and recommended) to do several segmented warm-up phases in each session, one each time you change activity or muscle groups to work.

3. Dynamic heating

If the above types of warm-up are differentiated especially by emphasizing the parts of the body they involve, in this case the main characteristic is the nature of the activity to be performed.

Dynamic heating is distinguished by the implementation of a wide variety of biological processes: strength, flexibility, proprioception and balance, breathing control , sharpening of reflexes, etc.

Thus, it appeals to both physical and psychological properties to bring us into the physical and mental state that will prepare us to function properly when we actually engage in the sport or exercise for which we train.

For example, quickly doing a series of exercises without a break through a circuit, although with medium intensity, falls into this category.

4. Preventive heating

Se trata de la puesta en práctica de instrucciones específicas indicadas por un profesional que ha dado pautas para prevenir una clase de lesión específica o el empeoramiento de una lesión que ya existe.

Por su propia razón de ser, es de baja intensidad, aunque su naturaleza puede variar mucho dependiendo del caso y del posible riesgo al que se enfrente quien practica el deporte.

Referencias bibliográficas:

  • Anderson, D. (1989). La disciplina y la profesión. Fundamentos de los estudios canadienses de educación física, recreación y deportes. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
  • Fradkin AJ, Zazryn TR, Smoliga JM (2010). “Efectos del calentamiento en el rendimiento físico: una revisión sistemática con meta-análisis”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 24 (1): 140 – 148.
  • Rössler, R.; Junge, A.; Bizzini, M.; Verhagen, E.; Chomiak, J.; aus der Fünten, K.; Meyer, T.; Dvorak, J.; Lichtenstein, E.; Beaudouin, F.; Faude, O. (2017). “A Multinational Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Efficacy of ’11+ Kids’: A Warm-Up Programme to Prevent Injuries in Children’s Football”. Medicina deportiva.
  • Soligard, T., Myklebust, G., Steffen, K., Holme, I., Silvers, H., Bizzini, M. y otros (2008) “Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial”. BMJ, 337:a2469