A warm up helps to prepare the body for the physical exertion to come. It gently raises your pulse rate and therefore, your cardiac output increases and also your rate of ventilation. Your vasomotor centre makes sure that more blood is being distributed to the working muscles. This combined affect is to increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the muscle cells. This helps to reduce the oxygen deficit when you start carrying out the actual activity.
A Warm up is very important as it helps to reduce the possible chances of injury. It raises your body temperature in your muscles as there is an increase in the blood flow which raises your body temperature in your muscles, making them more responsive. The elasticity of muscle tissue is increased and more oxygen can be carried to the working muscles. This will help to prepare the body for the activity to come.
Throughout a warm up routine, it consists of stretching exercises and this increases your flexibility and so directly reduces the risk of injury. The reason for this is that; a muscle or tendon group with a greater range of motion will be less likely to experience tears when used actively. Stretching also helps to improve recovery and may enhance the participant’s performance. Additionally, increased flexibility of the neck, shoulders and upper back may improve respiratory function.
The nervous system becomes stimulated which makes sure you more alert and aware and therefore it gets you psychologically prepared. This will help to increase your levels of motivation and determination to carry out your dance sessions.
The benefit of a warm up is that the muscles torn most frequently from the neglect of a warm up are the antagonists (such as the hamstrings- Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, biceps femoris) to the strong contracting muscles (such as the Quadriceps- Vastus medialis, Vastus lateralis, Vastus intermedius, rectus femoris). Cold antagonistic muscles relax slowly when the agonists contract, therefore free movement and accurate co-ordination is retarded.
At the same time, the force of the contraction of the agonists and the momentum of the moving part exert a great strain on the unyielding antagonists. Without a warm up, this may lead to the tearing of the muscle fibers or the tendons.
I will stretch, moving a joint to just beyond its point of resistance. Flexibility is limited by the joint itself, ligaments and tendons acting upon it. I cannot change the bony structures or the type of joint, but I can stretch the soft tissue surrounding the joint.
Neck (Sternocleidomastoid and scalenes)
* Turn head to the left, then to the right.
* Look up and then down.
* 5 Neck rolls to the right and then 5 neck rolls to the left.
* Shoulders, back and arms
* I will Circle arms 10 times forward, 10 times backward and then rotate arms alternating. This will mobilise my shoulder joint.
* I will Stretch my Trapezius by pulling one arm that is kept straight across the chest with your other arm supporting it in its position. This is a horizontal flexion movement.
* I will stretch my triceps brachii by flexing my elbow and placing my hand behind my head on by back and my other hand puts pressure on the flexed elbow joint.
Wrists and fingers
* I will rotate my wrist joints, clap my hands together rapidly and then bend and mobilise my fingers.
* I will mobilise my hip joint by placing my hands on my hips and doing 5 hip rotations to the left and then 5 to right. Rotate my hips by raising my leg (with a bent knee so it is at 90 degrees to my body) then I will turn my leg outwards to the side of my body.
* I will stretch my vertebral column by crouching down onto my knees and placing my hands on the floor reaching as far as I can.
* I will Stretch the Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedials, Vastus Medialis and Rectus Femoris by pulling the ankle with your hand on the same side of the body keeping the knees together while maintaining the correct spine alignment. My hips should be square (I will make sure they do not twist.) If I find it difficult to keep my balance I will hold onto my ear with my other hand and focus.
* I will stretch the Semitendinosus, Biceps Femoris and Semi Membranosus by placing one foot in front of the other; bend your back knee while keeping my front leg straight. Raise the hips and lean your body slightly over. After holding this stretch for 10-15 seconds, I will slowly raise the toes of my front foot so that they point towards the ceiling (I will keep my heel firmly on the ground.) Doing this will produce a full stretch down the back of the leg, i.e. Semitendinosus, Biceps Femoris, Semi Membranosus and Gastrocnemius.
* I will move my legs apart (wide stance), I will then bend forwards with my hands flat to floor.
* Right foot behind left at 90 degrees right leg flexed, left leg straight, bend forward to left foot. Left foot behind left at 90 degrees left leg flexed, right leg straight, bend forward to right foot.
* To stretch the Adductors Longus, Brevis and Magnus both feet will be flat on the floor and facing forward. I will lean over to one side keeping the other leg straight, bend the knee at the side you are leaning over to increase the intensity of the stretch.
* To stretch my Gastrocnemius I will put one foot in front of the other and bend you’re your front knee. The back leg will be kept straight and the rear heel will be kept firmly on the floor throughout the stretch. This stretch is often carried out against a wall. The Gastrocnemius is stretched by flexing your elbows and moving your body weight forward. Stretch forward until you feel a gentle pull in the lower leg.
* To stretch the Soleus, the front knee is bent and is pushed towards the ground, while staying over and just in front of the foot. A gentle pull should be felt in the lower one third of the leg. The knee can then be directed medially and laterally to stretch different areas.
* To mobilise my ankle joint I will move the sole of the foot inwards (inversion) and then turn it outwards (eversion).
* I will then move the foot downwards (away from the tibia) which is
known as plantar flexion and then I will move it upwards (towards the tibia) and this is known as dorsi flexion. This mobilises the Tibialis Anterior, Gastrocnemius and Soleus.