I think we all agree that everyone knows that before starting any physical activity or sport of a certain intensity, such as padel, we should warm up. However, I am sure I am not wrong if I say that only a few, or very few, do this before entering the court to play padel, and even less, an optimal one.
In this article we are going to see, mainly, why it is important to warm up and how to do it well.
WHAT IS A WARM-UP?
Before defining what a warm-up is, let’s make one thing very clear: “hitting (on court) IS NOT A WARM-UP”.
A possible definition of what a warm-up is: “A set of activities and/or physical exercises of low or moderate intensity, first of a general nature and then of a more specific nature, which are carried out before any physical activity or sport in which the demand for effort is greater than normal in order to achieve maximum availability and performance of the individual’s physical, technical and mental capacities”.
WHY SHOULD WE WARM UP?
Making our body go from a state of rest to a state of intense physical activity (such as paddle tennis) without warming up is perhaps the most common and biggest mistake made in sport.
We cannot go from being in a state of rest, in which the muscles have a very low tone, the heart beats at a slow pace and the organs have a basal activity, to starting a padel match without warming up and in which, in addition, we want to give everything to win.
In padel, as in any other sport, it is very important to warm up well before entering the court, whether it is a competitive match or a friendly match. We should not fool ourselves,by thinking our body is always the same, whether we are playing the final of the Masters or having a few drinks with friends, so we will have the same chances of getting injured in both cases.
The benefits of a good warm-up are as follows:
1. It prepares the cardiorespiratory system.
It increases heart rate, respiratory rate and blood flow to the muscles.
2. Gers the musculoskeletal and joint system ready.
It improves muscle contraction and significantly reduces the risk of injury, especially contractures and tears. It also increases our flexibility and capacity for movement.
3. It prepares the neuromuscular system.
This will allow us to react more quickly and effectively.
4. It prepares us mentally.
It reduces the level of anxiety and prepares us psychologically for the match: it increases our attention span, motivation and concentration.
In short, warming up properly will improve our performance from the first point of the match and will significantly reduce the risk of injury.
HOW WE SHOULD WARM UP
4.0. How long should a warm-up last?
Although there is certainly no unanimous agreement on how long a good warm-up should last, as this varies according to various factors such as the sport or activity to be performed, the physical condition of the person, whether or not they have an injury, age, ambient temperature… numerous tests have shown that, in just a few minutes of warm-up, it is possible to raise the body temperature to the ideal temperature for physical activity.
However, this should never be taken to shorten the warm-up time, but in any case, leaving aside the days when the temperature is very low, warming up for 15-20 minutes will be more than enough.
In this aspect it is also good to respect and take into account the individual preferences and/or sensations of each person. There will be players who will need and/or want to warm up for a rather long time to feel confident and well prepared for the match, while others, with a shorter warm-up, will be ready to play.
4.1. General warm-up (5-7 minutes)
The aim is to increase circulation in general and to warm up the joints and large muscles.
An active warm-up is always recommended, so in this phase we recommend starting with a gentle continuous run for a few minutes and then combining it with lateral runs, lateral running with the legs crossing to one side and the other, backstroke, knee lifts, circular movements of the joints…
4.2. More specific (5-7 minutes)
In the next phase, a more specific warm-up should be carried out that is closer to what padel requires. This means including exercises in which there are:
- Multidirectional movements.
- Jumps and knee bends.
- Hitting gestures with and/or without a bat.
- Changes of pace and deceleration or braking.
4.3. Dynamic stretching and joint mobility exercises
This involves stretching with small controlled bounces and at low speed of the main muscles involved in padel. Traditional” stretching would be more effective after the activity as a means of recovery.
Recommendation: always follow the same order of stretching and in ascending order would be a good idea so as not to forget any stretches.
We hope that after reading this article, many more people will always do a good warm-up before starting to play.
Although we have said that the perfect warm-up should consist of different phases, the reality is that there is no single perfect warm-up. You can warm up in different ways and all of them can be equally valid. So we encourage you to find, try and create your own ideal warm-up.
Warming up before a match is a must. We have already seen that it is not a trivial thing, on the contrary, it is, or should be, an unavoidable step for everyone, both for amateurs and for those who compete on a regular basis. Your health or possible injury is at stake!
FOR MORE ON PHYSICAL ASPECTS AND INJURY PREVENTIONS: HERE
GREAT WARM GAMES: HERE