'Warming up' is a part of stretching and preparation for physical exertion or a performance by exercising or practicing gently beforehand, usually undertaken before a performance or practice. Athletes, singers, actors and others warm up before stressing their muscles. It is widely believed to prepare the muscles for vigorous actions and to prevent muscle cramps and injury due to overexertion.

Players of Legends Football League do a warm-up exercise, US


Swimmers perform squats prior to entering the pool in a U.S. military base, 2011
Steven Gerrard warming up prior to a football match in 2010.

A warm-up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity in physical activity (a "pulse raiser"), joint mobility exercise, and stretching, followed by the activity. For example, before running or playing an intensive sport, athletes might slowly jog to warm their muscles and increase their heart rate. It is important that warm-ups be specific to the activity, so that the muscles to be used are activated. The risks and benefits of combining stretching with warming up are disputable, although it is generally believed that warming up prepares the athlete both mentally and physically.


A group of High School girls performing a ballistic stretch in a Physical Education session

Stretching is part of some warm-up routines, although a study in 2013 indicates that it weakens muscles in that situation.[1] There are 3 types of stretches: ballistic, dynamic, and static:

  • Ballistic Stretches involve bouncing or jerking. It is purported to help extending limbs during exercise, promoting agility and flexibility.
  • Static Stretches involve flexing the muscles. This may help preventing injury and permit greater flexibility and agility. Note that static stretching for too long may weaken the muscles. [1][2]
  • Dynamic Stretching involves moving the body part in the desired way until reaching the full range of motion, to improve performance.[3]

Warming up in other contexts


Psychologists, educators, singers, and similar professionals use warm-ups in therapeutic or learning sessions before starting or after a break; these warm-ups can include vocal and physical exercises, interactive and improvisational games, role plays, etc. A vocal warm-up can be especially important for actors and singers.



Preventing injury


There is contradictory evidence in terms of benefits of comprehensive warm-ups for preventing injury in football (soccer) players, with some studies showing some benefit[4] while other showing no benefit.[5] It has been suggested that it is specifically warm ups aimed at increasing body temperature, rather than targeting stretching, which can prevent injury.[6] Warming up before an eccentric exercise has been shown to reduce the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).[citation needed]

Increasing performance


In baseball, warm-up swings using a standard weight bat are effective in increasing batting speed.[7] In a 2010 meta-analysis, the authors concluded that in about four-fifths of the studies there was improvement in performance with various physical activities with warm-ups as opposed to without warm-ups.[8] An increase in body temperature, specifically in the muscles, improves explosive skeletal muscle performance (e.g., jumping and sprinting).[9]

See also



  1. ^ a b "Stretching before workout may weaken muscles, impair athletes: studies". Nationalpost. National Post. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  2. ^ Reynolds, Gretchen (2008-10-31). "Stretching: The Truth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  3. ^ Rössler, Roland; Junge, Astrid; Bizzini, Mario; Verhagen, Evert; Chomiak, Jiri; aus der Fünten, Karen; Meyer, Tim; Dvorak, Jiri; Lichtenstein, Eric; Beaudouin, Florian; Faude, Oliver (22 December 2017). "A Multinational Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Efficacy of '11+ Kids': A Warm-Up Programme to Prevent Injuries in Children's Football". Sports Medicine. 48 (6): 1493–1504. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0834-8. PMC 5948238. PMID 29273936.
  4. ^ Daneshjoo A, Mokhtar AH, Rahnama N, Yusof A (2012). "The effects of injury preventive warm-up programs on knee strength ratio in young male professional soccer players". PLOS ONE. 7 (12): e50979. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...750979D. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050979. PMC 3513304. PMID 23226553.
  5. ^ Soligard T, Myklebust G, Steffen K, et al. (2008). "Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial". BMJ. 337: a2469. doi:10.1136/bmj.a2469. PMC 2600961. PMID 19066253.
  6. ^ Aj, Fradkin; Bj, Gabbe; Pa, Cameron (June 2006). "Does warming up prevent injury in sport? The evidence from randomised controlled trials?". Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 9 (3): 214–220. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2006.03.026. PMID 16679062. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  7. ^ McCrary, J Matt (February 2015). "A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury". British Journal of Sports Medicine. 49 (14): 935–942. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-094228. PMID 25694615.
  8. ^ Aj, Fradkin; Tr, Zazryn; Jm, Smoliga (January 2010). "Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 24 (1): 140–148. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c643a0. hdl:11323/5596. PMID 19996770. S2CID 29414183. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  9. ^ Racinais, Sébastien; Cocking, Scott; Périard, Julien D. (2017-08-04). "Sports and environmental temperature: From warming-up to heating-up". Temperature: Multidisciplinary Biomedical Journal. 4 (3): 227–257. doi:10.1080/23328940.2017.1356427. ISSN 2332-8940. PMC 5605167. PMID 28944269.