Aussie Study Shows Why Warming Up Is Important Before Exercising

Everyone knows you should warm up prior to exercise, but very few people actually bother. Turns out, that could be a real mistake: a new study suggests that warming up actually increases the maximum power a muscle can provide during exercise, as opposed to just shortening the time required to reach maximum output.

The study, carried out at La Trobe's School of Physiotherapy, tested out the effect of warm-up exercises on 22 elite athletes. What they found is a little surprising: some warm-up exercises actually increase the maximum explosive power a muscle can provide during the subsequent workout. Essentially, that's extra performance for little extra effort. Justin Crow, one of the researchers, explains to Medical Express:

"A warm-up protocol involving low load exercises targeting the gluteal muscles is effective at acutely enhancing explosive power output in the lower limbs. Coaches may consider this protocol when preparing athletes for competition or training in sports involving explosive lower limb movements such as jumping, sprinting, and some weightlifting movements."

In fact, Crow suggests that some simple none-weight bearing warm-ups can help any athlete's performance. While it's not been established exactly why such warm-ups increase maximum strength, it's known that such exercises do affect the metabolism of muscles. And, at any rate, there's a whole heap of evidence to show that they reduce injury — so get stretching. [Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research via Medical Express]

Image: Supri Suharjoto/Shutterstock

WATCH MORE: Science & Health News


    Warming up is for poseurs. Real men just get on with it.

    * there’s a whole heap of evidence to show that they reduce injury *.

    Um, no. Here's how science works: never take a single study in isolation. Even if the result is significant, there is some chance that it was due to chance (conventionally, significance means 5% or less, but that's not nothing). Further, no study controls for everything. So you need to look at replications and at other studies that used similar - but not identical - procedures. Here's what you find if you look at the science (as opposed to talking out of your fundament). Some studies find a small benefit of stretching for injury prevention. Some find no benefit. And some find that it actually makes injury more likely. A meta-analysis finds no effect either way.

    Stretching and warming up are 2 different things. Warming up is simply activating muscles, jogging, moving, getting the blood flowing. Stretching, in training and AFTER activity, helps to prevent injury, but there is no evidence that stretching immediately before an event is helpful.

      THANK you!
      Stretching is useful to increase flexibility, warming up will make you less likely to do yourself injury at the very least.

        Mike: evidence?

          I cried reading her post from Sunday. And the pics! Amazing, but Tutu looks so small. Really bgnirs it into focus on how big of a impact it has had on her little body.

      I disagree. Since I started stretching before my basketball and volleyball games my incidence of injury has dramatically decreased.


        sorry cupcake but your findings are inconclusive

      you should actually "warm up" before you stretch to prevent "micro tears" in the muscle . If you stretch cold it has no benefit and can only cause harm.

    Oh, joy. Another pointless and redundant study. I'm so glad that a bunch of academics have discovered what enthusiast level and higher athletes have known for decades.

    @MotorMouth, "real men just get on with it", eh? Heh heh, I wanna see you just get into a 200+kg deadlift. That'll well and truly cover my schadenfreude requirement for an entire year.

    Also - walking and jogging are not exercise.

    I used to work in a pretty physically demanding trade and my work mates used to hang it on me everyday for warming up in the morning before getting started - it payed off big time though, as they were always injuring themselves or dealing with back/joint pain

    Just out of curiosity how does this relate to tech? This article should be on Bellasugar! If we needed tips on exercising this would be the last place to turn to!

    "Do you ever see a lion warm-up before it tackles a gazelle?"

    Actually stretching probably reduces muscle power, and my cause injury if they are not warmed up. - references included.

    The abstract referenced in this Gizmodo article does not even mention stretching. The journalist, Jamie Condliffe has just thown it in himself.

    Rich is right, the author confuses warming up and stretching.

    Since back in 2004, it was quite conclusive that while warming up is beneficial, stretching does not prevent injury:

    Also in 2007: review of 10 separate study:

    But since it is "common believe" doing stretching could give a placebo effect .
    Warming up is still important, though...

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now