Research Review: Are Warm-Ups worth the effort?

Most Physio’s, Personal trainers and Coaches firmly believe that a good warm up is essential in reducing the chance of injury and preparing the body for the activities to follow, but has this injury reduction benefit been actually proven in science?

In a recent research review published in The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, academics from Monash University in Melbourne reviewed studies that looked to answer this question. Surprisingly over the past 40 years there have only been five studies that looked at the injury reduction benefit of a warm-up.

From the five studies examined, three of the studies supported the use of a warm-up to reduce injury whilst the remaining two did not.

The Monash researches went on to conclude from their evaluation that:

  • In the three positive studies there was a greater emphasis on general exercise to increase body temperature while the two negative studies were more involved in stretching warm-ups.

The three positive studies found that the reduced injury risk was associated with the age and type of activity undertaken.

Even allowing for the lack of research material, we still suggest that you undertake a thorough warm-up before performing exercise. For example:

  • 5-20 minutes in total.
  • General activity to increase basic body temperature followed by some more specific range of motion stretching that replicates the events to follow.
  • A series of balance related activities to ensure your sensory receptors are prepared for the tasks to follow.
  • Gradually increasing intensity becoming more specific and “game like” as the training session or game approaches.

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