Neuromuscular Training Warm Up for Injury Prevention
We all know that participating in physical activity and sport poses its own risk of injury, however most of these injuries are preventable. A three year study in Calgary junior high schools with the partnership of the University of Calgary’s Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (SIPRC) and Ever Active Schools showed that students who participated in a neuromuscular training warm up had a significant decrease in lower body injuries compared to their peers (Emery, et al., 2018).
This is particularly interesting to females in the sport community as we tend to have a higher incidence of sport related injuries due to various reasons (hormonal influence on neuromuscular control, ligament laxity as well as anatomic and biomechanical factors) as mentioned by Vicki Harbor in Canadian Sport for Life’s The Female Athlete Perspective. She states that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), patellofemoral joint (PFJ) and shoulder injuries are among the most common. So if a neuromuscular training warm up can help decrease risk of injury we could help more women and girls stay active and playing their sport longer.
So what is a neuromuscular training warm up?
A neuromuscular training warm up works on activating the neural and muscular systems to wake up the muscles that are needed for basic movement patterns such as stabilizing the joint. It contains four main components which are aerobic (such as Skipping, & forward and backward running), agility (zig zag running and jumps or hops in multiple directions), strength (plank, side plank and Nordic hamstring) and balance exercises (single leg balance) to ensure the body is appropriately warmed up for activity.
A great starting point and snap shot to reference is the Be Fit for Life’s Let’s Warm Up poster which is a free downloadable resource found at http://befitforlife.ca/resources/jrhighwarmup, which previews a few exercises that could be done as part of your neuromuscular training warm up.
Kayla Repas, Dip Exs Sci, CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer
Medicine Hat College, Be Fit for Life Centre