It doesn’t matter if you are playing representative sport or preparing yourself for a weekend gym session: Warm-ups are a necessary part of your preparation. Warm-ups assist in preparing you physically and mentally for an activity or competition, thus maximising your performance. They also play a vital role in injury prevention.
While you want to achieve maximum benefit, but I’m sure you have a busy life and your time is valuable. Therefore, we need a simple, effective structure to follow that is both effective and time-efficient. The “RAMP” protocol by Dr. Ian Jeffreys (Jeffreys, 2017) provides a structure for warm-ups that is both effective and time-efficient, and can be tailored to your sport or activity. The main phases of RAMP are:
- Activate and Mobilise
- Phase 1 aims to raise body temperature, heart rate, breathing, blood flow and joint mobility, taking the body from its resting state and preparing it for the activities to come. This phase may include running drills, direction change drills, or movements such as lunging or squatting. Intensity is lowest in this phase.
- Phase 2 is to activate the main muscle groups and joints that you will use in the main activity. This phase may include spinal mobility exercises, ‘supermans’, ‘inchworms’ or balance drills that are specific to your sport or activity.
- Phase 3 is to ‘prime’ or (‘potentiate‘) you for your training session or competition. This phase is high in intensity, and is highly specific to your sport or activity. Activities may include jumping/bounding, tackling pads/bags, or reactive agility drills. Once you complete this phase, you should be ready to start.
So what role does stretching play?
Several studies have found that stretching prior to an event may be counterproductive, and actually reduces the amount of force that your muscles are able to generate (Cramer et al., 2005). The best way to incorporate stretching is after exercise, where you can use them to reduce muscle stiffness, gain additional flexibility and reduce the chance of injury, without worrying about their impact on your performance.
Here at Pinnacle Spine & Sports, we can assist you in developing an effective warm-up and stretching protocol, whether it be for competitive sport, a gym program, or a weekend hobby. If you would like to find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch on (02) 9743 2311 or click here to book online.
Jeffreys, I. (2017). RAMP warm-ups: more than simply short-term preparation.. Professional Strength and Conditioning.
Cramer JT1, Housh TJ, Weir JP, Johnson GO, Coburn JW, Beck TW.(2005). The acute effects of static stretching on peak torque, mean power output, electromyography, and mechanomyography. Eur J Appl Physiol. 93(5-6):530-9.