Updated: Feb 16
When you imagine a warmup, you may be picturing a half-hearted jog around a track (or feis venue!) followed by some light, static stretching. However, research indicates the best warmups are well-planned, with exercises and content that directly relate to the goals of the training session (1). If you plan to do lots of plyometric activity (jumping) during a workout, a good warmup would include plenty of leg movement with jumping and landing exercises. A well-planned warmup also allows for additional high-quality training time within a season. Let’s say you’re using Target Training’s 12-Week Workout from the TT Online Institute to train for the upcoming Oireachtas. A 15-minute warmup done before four training sessions per week gives you an additional 12 hours of training time in that season! If planned well, these 12 hours will prepare you physically, prepare you mentally, prevent injuries, and enhance your performance.
To plan a good warmup, Dr. Ian Jeffreys developed the RAMP protocol: Raise, Activate and Mobilize, and Performance (2). The ‘raise’ phase is dedicated to raising body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, blood flow—all to start getting your body physically ready. This could include jumping jacks, skips, lunges, etc. ‘Activate and Mobilize’ is exactly what the name implies: activating key muscles groups while mobilizing joints and increasing range of motion. Exercises such as Target Training’s animal mobility series are perfect for this section. The final phase, ‘performance,’ aims to directly prepare an athlete for their specific sport performance. In Irish dance, this would be where you change out of tennis shoes and into ghillies or hard shoes for dance drills and run-throughs of your steps. During this phase, it’s important to start dancing at a lower intensity and slowly build up to dancing with 100% effort. Unsure where to start with your warm up planning? Check out the Target Training Online Institute for the official TT Irish Dance Warm Up! This video includes a printable layout of each phase and what exercises you should include to get yourself in the “zone” for Oireachtas!
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RESOURCES (1) Walker, O. (2016). Warm-Ups. Science for Sport, retrieved from https://www.scienceforsport.com/warm-ups/ (2) Jeffreys, I. (2007). Warm-up revisited: the RAMP method of optimizing warm-ups. Professional Strength and Conditioning, (6), 12-18. Retrieved from researchgate.net.