A more effective warm-up than static stretching can consist of the elliptical, bike, stairmaster, jump rope, etc. Static stretching (when you stretch a muscle and hold it for 10-15 seconds) should not be performed previous to training, as research has shown that static stretching before training does not aid in preventing injury and it also decreases force production (Landin, et al, 2008), which will be detrimental to the client’s performance in the workout. The warm-up should consist of something to get the blood flowing throughout the body and then continue as the workout progresses. Static stretching can be performed after the workout as this is when it is actually beneficial and flexibility can be increased. However, static stretching should not be a priority, as through practical experience it is starting to be shown that dynamic movements do more to promote flexibility. If you can do a full range of motion squat, then how much additional flexibility do you need? Add to that the fact that static stretching does nothing to burn calories, burn fat, or strengthen muscle; therefore, it should not be a priority. Try to perform activity that will take full advantage of your time.
Every workout should start with abdominal/low back work (Radcliffe, 1999). When the core is warm, the arms and legs will automatically be warmed up for both safety and performance. These are also the most important muscles to work as they are the primary components for all other forms of strength, influencing the beginning, maintenance, and completion of all movement (Farentinos and Radcliffe, 1999); therefore, we do not want to save them for last and possibly run out of time. For ideas on abdominal work , and the proper videotaped technique from head to toe, you can download onto your ipod and take to the gym with you visit www.powerelevation.com.
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Farentinos, R. Radcliffe, J. (1999). High Powered Plyometrics. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Landin, D., Nelson, A. G., Schexnayder, I. C., Winchester, J. B., Young, M. A. Static Stretching Impairs Sprint Performance in Collegiate Track and Field Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 13-18. January, 2008. Volume, 22, Number 1.
Radcliffe, J. Getting Into Position. Training and Conditioning. April, 1999. Volume 9, Number 3.