Types of sports warm-up

It is common to hear fitness experts talk about the need to warm up before training. However, warming up is a fairly broad concept, so it is important to know it in depth, so that it becomes a tool to achieve our goals.

To understand what sports warm-up is, we must remember that the human body tends to balance, that is, that under normal conditions the body is in a state of stability. In this sense, a too sudden change in this balance can be counterproductive, generating minor, moderate and serious injuries.

Warming up consists of performing a series of physical movements aimed at progressively preparing the body, so that it is capable of facing a training routine with less risk of injury. In addition, numerous scientific studies have shown that warm-up exercises can increase performance , both in amateur and professional athletes. However, there are different types of warm-ups, so it is important to know them in depth.

1. General warm-up

This is the basic way to warm up. It is about involving most of the body, so that it is prepared for any physical activity. Among the types of sports warm-up, this is the most used to optimize calorie burning, since it allows you to activate practically the entire body globally, without emphasizing any muscle group.

Generally, general warm-up exercises are light, so they do not require much effort, however, they can involve low to moderate intensity, such as when using the treadmill or elliptical trainer, but without ever reaching the maximum intensity. maximum speed of which we are capable. This way of warming up is very common in gyms where hypertrophy is trained.

2. Segmented heating

It is also called specific warm-up and consists of preparing the muscles and joints that we are going to exercise later. In this case, we also want the body to remember the technique of carrying out the physical movements that we make in a specific activity. For example, the specific warm-up for a soccer player should include continuous running, sideways and backwards, but also turning from the waist, running to the side, head jumps, among other gestures that he will apply during the match.

Unlike the general warm-up, the specific warm-up is not necessarily done only once , since in some sports disciplines we work several muscle groups in the same training session. An example of this is what happens in the gym, when we combine chest work with biceps. The specific warm-up for the chest is only valid for exercises such as the bench press, but when we go to the biceps we must do another specific warm-up for that muscle group.

Generally, in both professional bodybuilding and amateur dumbbell training, the specific warm-up consists of performing exactly the same movements that we will do in the workout, but with very little weight and a higher number of repetitions.

3. Dynamic heating

This is the most complete type of physical warm-up, since it is not focused on a specific part of the body, but works in an integral way, involving different biological processes, such as flexibility , balance, strength, breathing and reflex. In addition, it allows to improve proprioception, so that it not only appeals to physical properties but also psychological ones, favoring awareness of the functioning of our own body.

In this sense, dynamic warm-up comprises different movements that are carried out in short periods of time but without stopping, in the same way that it happens in a circuit. However, in this case you work at low and medium intensity, since the idea is to save energy for when the real training begins.

This means that if in a general warm-up we can last 10 minutes on the elliptical bike, a dynamic type will include other exercises in that same period of time, such as knees to the pectorals, heels to the buttocks, waist twist, long steps, among other gestures, without stopping to rest between one and the other.

4. Preventive heating

This type of preparation requires the presence of a professional, usually a physical therapist, who directs the warm-up towards the prevention of a specific injury in patients who are at higher risk. For example, if there is a tendency to suffer from lower back conditions, the expert must give specific instructions to avoid injury.

Another of the objectives of preventive warm-up is to protect an area of ​​the body that already has an injury, taking all the necessary precautions so as not to aggravate the damage. For this reason, this preparation method is widely used by those athletes who wish to continue training despite having presented some inconvenience.

Sports warm-up phases

The previous preparation of the body must be in accordance with the principle of load progression, that is, the most convenient thing is to start with slow and light movements and gradually increase the intensity. For this reason, it is good to know the parts of the warm-up.


This phase includes exercises that involve practically the entire body. In this sense, it is a general stimulation that should start with a mild intensity until reaching moderate intensity, always using a large number of muscles.

Muscle-joint mobility

At this stage of the warm-up, gestures aimed at moving the body in segments are introduced, to activate certain specific muscle groups. In this sense, it is good to emphasize the joints and muscles that will be more involved in the subsequent training.

environmental adjustment

It is a more advanced phase, in which only the specific gestures that are carried out in a certain sporting activity are worked on. In this stage, each athlete practices an individual warm-up, with movements that recall the technique that he will use during the match or competition.

Fine tunning

It is the last of the sports warm-up phases, in which concentration is worked on, in some cases, with energizing exercises and in others relaxation, depending on the discipline. For example, the set-up of the fencer is not the same as that of the boxer.

In short, we can say that warming up is of great importance to increase performance and reduce the risk of injury. Therefore, choosing the type of exercises correctly helps to get the most out of it.

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