Most athletes know that a proper warm up is as must. Now, I’m sure you have all been hearing all kinds of different advice from different sources. Sadly, what we see more often than not, is either people going all beserk in the warm up, or simply go for a 2 minute jog followed by some static stretches.
WHAT WARM UP IS ALL ABOUT
To know what needs to be done in the warm-up we need to ask ourselves what is its purpose. The whole point of the warm up is getting our bodies prepared for the challenges we’ll be facing in the dunk/training session.
Without going into too much detail at this stage, these are the most noticable benefits we are looking for from completion of our warm up:
- Increased muscle temperature – more forceful muscle contraction and quicker relaxation, increased muscle elasticity, reduction of the incidence of muscle strains and pulls
- Joint lubrication and increased range of movement around joints – less joint friction, better ‘cushioning’ of joints, increased mobility
- Nervous system excitation – getting all bodily processes into higher gear – the feeling of ‘being ready’ or ‘amped up’
What we are looking for in general is breaking a little sweat, while keeping fatigue at a minimum and bring about the feeling of excitement – feeling ‘ready’ or even a bit ‘amped up’. If you notice yourself yawning after you’re done with the warm up then you are most certainly not doing it right.
OK, SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Starting the warmup with a light 5-10 minute jog to increase the body temperature is never a bad idea. Going on we should proceed with an active, dynamic warm up consisting of an array of multi-directional movements with a focus on lower extremities (hips, legs, feet) with some activation exercises and dynamic stretches. Static stretches should be left for after the training sesison. (Static stretching will be more thoroughly addressed in our Dunk Elite/PrimeStar Sports Academy launching in the coming weeks).
Here is an example of a well balanced active, dynamic warm-up.
This is just to give you an idea of what a dynamic warm up is and in what manner and sequence it is to be done in. You don’t have to be doing every single exercise demonstrated every time. You can definitely keep it shorter but I would advise to go through this whole sample dynamic session once, just to experience for yourself what it feels like to be really properly warmed up.
After your dynamic warm up, a short (5-15 minutes) basketball game is a very good way to get some more ‘aggressive’ work in and get your body in the gear for all out, maximum effort jumping. An alternative is to do a couple of medium-intensity sprints, gradually working your way down on the distance (example: starting with 2x 150m, then 1x 100m and 1x 60m).
To wrap up this blog post I’d like to encourage all of you who are reading this to really try this approach, take warm up more seriously and actually start doing it religiously not only to promote a healthy, injury-free activity but also help you perform better and get more out of your dunk/jump training sessions.
Keep flying high and stay tuned.