What is it: warm up? The key word here is warm. Simply put, you are trying to increase the temperature of your your tissues specifically, those your about to use). When you move faster and for a prolonged period time or increase your intensity,your heart pumps more blood to the working muscles, which, in essence, “warms” the muscle tissue. Warmer tissues means better muscle performance and less chance of straining muscle.

Your warm-up gets blood into the muscle, which warms them, preparing them for elongatIon, contractions and loading.

Your warm-up “lubes” your joints, pumping in synovial fluid, your body’s natural motor oil.

Your warm up triggers your sympathetic nervous system, preparing your body for movement and dynamic activity (fight, flight or freeze).

Warm-ups can also be used to practice skills, technique and form.

The warm-up is good opportunity for the dancer to prepare themselves mentally for the dance ahead.

 

How should you choose a warm up routine?

  • It should not exhaust you
  • It should not increase joint or muscular pain
  • It should not take away from your event or training or dance
  • It should start at a lower heart rate and gradually increase. (Again, do not exhaust yourself.)
  • It can occur before and in-between dances. (You’ve seen bikes on the sidelines of football games and sometimes basketball games. This is active recovery, a way of keeping your body loose and warm, so you don’t tighten up in between dances.)
  • It should transition from general to dance-specific movements — specific meaning that the movements should duplicate or target the muscle groups you are about to use (legs, hips, core). It’s fine to start with a general exercise, like stationary cycling. But eventually choose movements that mimic your dance movements.

 

My typical dance warm-up before New York “Chicago-Style” Stepping

 

Check out this recent workshop video shared on our MovEvolution Physical Therapy Facebook page, and forward to 4:45 into the video to see a demo of a functional warm-up.

 

See the Research

 

Move. Heal. DANCE. Evolve