Over the years, warm-up’s have been … (Mind the pun) … a HOTLY debated topic in the physio and sports community. The ability for a warm-up to reduce the chance of injury had mixed evidence. However, a study released last year showed a significant decrease in risk of injury in young children who participated in a warm-up before sport. For kids, and frankly all people participating in sport, injury serves as a significant barrier to sport, so any method to prevent that is very worthwhile looking into. Today I will run through this new piece of evidence and some ideas on how to implement it.
Before we get into the statistics, first let us understand what a warm-up actually is. A typical definition is ‘a series of physical exercises performed before more vigorous exercise’. Historically warm-ups have involved static stretching and some general running/based exercises. However more currently these warm-ups have included more neuromuscular and balance exercises. This could include exercises like single leg balance, practicing stopping, and change of direction exercises.
The study conducted in 2022, looked at a large body of evidence and noted the rate of injury following a warm-up. The data included just over 21,000 participants where 3910 injuries were reported. All the studies noted a 36% reduction in sports injuries in trainings where a warm-up before activity.
The mechanism thought to help decrease the injury risk is as follows:
- Peak height velocity (Which is when an adolescent grows the fastest) is thought to be correlated with a lessening of motor control.
- Trying to get an early start on improving that control can help to prevent some of the most common lower limb injuries associated with common sports played by children i.e., soccer and netball.
A great example of a well-researched warm-up program is a FIFA 11+. Specifically designed as a soccer warm-up program, it includes specific targeted movements that have a high potential to cause injury within the sports. Exercises include change of direction running, strength and balance exercises. If you would like to read more about this warm-up program feel free to read this blog.
Structuring a warm-up can be tricky sometimes and can be hard to tailor to your specific sport. If you need any assistance in getting a detailed warm up for you or your children, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Physio’s here at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD.
Ding, L., Luo, J., Smith, D. M., Mackey, M., Fu, H., Davis, M., & Hu, Y. (2022). Effectiveness of Warm-Up Intervention Programs to Prevent Sports Injuries among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(10), 6336. MDPI AG.