Warming up and Cooling down
Warming up and Cooling down
Warm up – Purpose
The purpose of the warm up is to prepare an athlete
for activity both physically and mentally.
It is important that the warm up is specific to the
activity. I.e. the warm up should prepare the muscles
that are to be used and activate the energy systems
for the activity to follow.
The main functions are to:
Increase the heart rate
Raise the body temperature
Prepare the major joints of the body
Mentally prepare the athlete for exercise
The warm up can be categorised as either pulse-raisers or
Pulse-raisers – a simple cardiovascular exercise that will
raise a persons heart rate. Normally lasts for 5-10mins and
towards the end of this phase, the heart rate should be near
to the level expected for the main activity.
Stretches – these are used as part of a warm to improve
joint mobility. The joints will become warmer and allow a full
range of motion to be achieved. Should start with small
movements and progress to larger, full ranges.
Dynamic stretching – promotes a form of flexibility that is
beneficial in sports using momentum from an effort to
propel the muscle into an extended range of motion. Must
be in a controlled manner
The warm up should be customised to the physical
capabilities of the client and the intensity of the
A brief 10 minute warm up will be adequate for a
weekend runner, but a seasoned athlete may require
something more thorough.
1st phase – raising the heart rate, leading to an increase
in the speed of delivery of oxygen to muscles. E.g.
2nd phase – mobility or stretching exercises.
3rd phase – sport or skill specific component. E.g. if you
were warming up to play football, you will practice
kicking a ball.
A general warm up will still aim to raise the heart rate,
increase body temperature and improve joint mobility.
Resistance machines can be used with low weight
resistance and low repetitions. Intensity increases
Cool down – Purpose
The purpose of a cool down is to return the body to
its pre-exercise state.
The three main objectives of a cool down are:
Return the heart rate to normal
2. Remove any waste products that may have built up during
3. Return muscles to their original state.
A cool down will also keep the metabolic rate high and
capillaries dilated to enable oxygen to flush through the
A cool down will also reduce the effect of delayed-onset of
muscle soreness (DOMS).
The final part of the cool down should include stretching
that is designed to facilitate flexibility.
Lowering of the pulse – select cardiovascular
exercises that involve all the major muscle groups.
Decrease intensity gradually. Lasts for approx. 5
Stretches – will allow the muscles to return to their
normal working length. Can either be maintenance
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
This is a combination of passive stretching and isometrics, in
which a muscle is first stretched and then contracted.
PNF was developed as a form of rehabilitation. It can also be
used to target specific muscle groups. As well as increasing
flexibility, it can also improve muscular strength.
Design a suitable warm-up and cool down for
a sport of your choice. Remember that your
warm-up should be specific to the exercise
you are about to undertake, and contain a
variety of stretches and pulse-raising
exercises. Having designed the warm-up and
cool down, demonstrate them to a small
group, describing the need for each chosen
P3 – To attain P3 consider how your body changes
immediately during exercise, and during longer,
sustained periods of exercise. You must consider the
sport you are warming up to perform and should
identify the specific muscles that will be used during