Why should we warm up before a padel game or training session?
Warming and stretching our muscles is essential when engaging in any sporting activity. The warm-up allows your body to prepare for and adapt to the different phases of the activity in order to optimise your sports performance. When we do any kind of physical exercise, our muscles and joints work hard and contract and expand several times. Once we have finished our physical activity, it's also highly recommended that we do a series of stretches in order to allow our muscles and joints to slowly reduce the level of intensity being exerted and return to their natural state. In addition to reducing muscular tension, improving posture and preventing injuries, stretching helps to optimise the coordination and fluidity of our movements, as well as helping to facilitate good blood circulation.
On the other hand, the physiological and psychological effects of the warm-up on the body help to improve the readiness of the body for performance, which in turn increases our levels of motivation and concentration by removing anxiety in the face of competition, and allowing us to perform at our best. In short, the main aim of warming up is to prevent injuries and restore the mobility of the joints for better performance in the game.
What are the most typical injuries?
The majority of injuries are caused by failing to warm up. The most common injuries are ankle sprains, joint injuries, muscle cramps, epicondylitis (the so-called "tennis elbow" is caused by irritation of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint), calf muscle tears, tendonitis in the shoulder or knee, lower back pain, muscular distension, muscle tears, dislocations, muscular fatigue, etc.
The best way to prevent all these injuries is to always ensure you perform a good warm-up, as these injuries mainly occur when we take our body from a state of rest to a state of high physical activity without any type of introduction. Our musculature, heart and the rest of our organs all have a low rate of core activity. If we suddenly demand an intense response from our body, this causes contractions, imprecise coordination and a high level of cardiovascular and respiratory stimulation, which in turn can cause injuries in the body.
With a simple, well done routine, we can prevent sprains, strains and tears that could cause further injuries and even fractures.
Now that we know a warm-up is essential before playing, our Nox youth team manager, Pablo Crosetti, has proposed the following sequence of exercises:
- General warm-up: Stretches of around 10 seconds, flexing of joints and movements to increase the temperature of the body.
- Specific warm-up: Specific hitting movements without the ball (forehand and backhand, volleys and returning serves)
- Then, rallies with the ball in parallel with your partner.
- Courtesy rally (standard 5 minutes) with your opponent.
Some specific warm-up exercises that can be done with your partner or solo:
- Elevator: touch the baseline - advance to volley - retreat. Your partner does the same; when you're at the baseline, they volley and then retreat so you can advance.
- Lob vs Lob: hit a lob and advance to touch the net. Your partner has to do the same thing.
- Solo progressive player rallies vs. the glass:
- 1)forehand - bounce off glass - forehand
- 2)backhand - bounce off glass - backhand
- 3)forehand - glass - backhand - glass - forehand...
- 4)volley - glass - volley
- 5)forehand - glass - volley - glass - forehand
- Maintain volley - volley with your partner for 1 minute at the net.
- 1)Forehand volley vs. forehand volley.
- 2)Backhand volley vs. backhand volley.
- 3)One player hits forehand and the other backhand.
If you want to know more, here are some basic warm-up guidelines:
- -You should start by moving your ankles, knees and shoulders to begin loosening up the body so that all your joints are lubricated. First of all, you should perform smooth, steady aerobic activity, rotating your limbs, and then move on to a brief jog on the spot to engage the legs. Next, perform some cardiovascular activity to gradually increase your heart rate.
- -The key to warming up is stretching the muscles so that they respond better to any kind of physical exertion, which ensures that they're prepared to protect the bones and prevent them breaking while creating the muscular activity, resulting in greater coordination and agility. Then, try to touch your feet with your fingertips and rotate your arms diagonally.
- -Finally, we start to engage each muscle individually, focusing on the ones that we'll use for our sport. In our case, the arm and calf muscles.
We hope you follow this short sequence of exercises whenever you have to train or play a game. If you do, you'll quickly see the benefits.