P.E. Classes Warm-ups

What do you normally think of when you are doing a warm-up? Is it the traditional jog a few laps to increase blood flow to the muscles to make them more flexible? Is it the basics of a few stretches that kids will hold for a few seconds, then move on to the next one? That is pretty much every warm-up I did in P.E. all the way through school.  

Lets look at a different perspective on how to truly prepare the body. If you have not looked go back to the early philosophy posts. In them we discuss how your muscular system is in a constant state of change based on the various stimulus or lack of stimulus it receives. I know many of you have said to your kids that if they don’t use their muscles, they will lose them. How true this is. So for a warm-up you must then assume that outside of your class they are not doing enough to provide the necessary stimulus to their muscular system to keep it working efficiently. 

How would you warm up someone who had not been allowed to use any of their muscles for over a week? Would it change what you would do with them. I hope it would. Without going into the boring lecture we all know and give to our students and parents, kids are simply not as physical as they used to be. Video Games, Computers, Ipod’s and all the other time wasters are really limiting the physical development of our children. 

So to do a warm-up that will provide the necessary stimulus to the muscular system and will allow you to truly improve the efficiency of the muscular system requires a different approach than the standard. Let me give you a different example of what is all entailed in a proper warm-up. Here are several components that are important to consider. First is the traditional idea of wanting to lengthen the muscles or “flexibility”. Lets take this a step further and say first we want to take the joints through a full range of motion. Specifically lets focus on the shoulders and hips, the two ball and socket joints in the body.

For the shoulders I like to break it up into 4 directions, Horizontal push and pull, Vertical Push and pull. Think of the body in the anatomically correct position, standing with palms facing out and knees and feet pointing straight ahead. So for the horizontal push it would involve the muscles involved in pressing the arms out in front of you, for instance a pushup. Horizontal pull would then of course be the opposite of this motion, the act of pulling the arms back towards the body. Vertical push and Vertical pull would then be the act of pressing the arms over the head and then pulling them back down. 

This is a very basic version but If you do an exercise for each of these 4 directions you will have given the necessary stimulus to the muscles of the upper body to promote full range of motion in that joint.

We can do the same thing for the lower Body, use these 4 planes, Flexion/Extension, and Abduction/Adduction. Flexion being the act of moving the femur superior towards the pelvis. Extension then would be the opposite, abduction is the lateral movement of the femur away from the midline and adduction is bringing it back. 

Next Post we will cover the remainder of the components of a warm-up.

2 Comments on this post


  1. Exercise of the Week #7 wrote:

    […] is a move that accomplishes several key components of a Warm-up, Spine rotation, Hamstring Flexibility, Hip Flexor Flexibility, and even muscular activation […]

    March 27th, 2009 at 6:35 am
  2. Top 5 things that drive you crazy at the gym wrote:

    […] People who do not warm-up. I have posted on this several times and the reasons are always the same. Our lack of muscular efficiency makes it […]

    April 12th, 2009 at 10:48 am


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