Dynamic warm-ups have become popular over the past 5-10 years. We use them with our clients on a regular basis. They have become so popular that even non fitness professionals use them in workouts. Even though they have become popular and standard in our field, does this mean any and everybody should be doing them? What about clients with joint issues?
Well, I believe that just about anyone on the surface can handle dynamic warm-ups. However, this can only be done if they are properly progressed. I’d like to cover with you dynamic warm-ups for people with joint issues.
What is a Dynamic Warm-Up?
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), a dynamic warm-up uses force production and momentum to move a joint through the full available range of motion.
Dynamic warm-ups also use the concept of reciprocal inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility.
In simpler terms, a dynamic warm-up uses exercises that allow your body to improve its range of motion. For example, a body weight squat and push up can be used to prepare a client’s body for their workout.
Is It OK to Use Dynamic Warm-Ups for Joint Issues?
This is the million-dollar question! The easy answer is yes and no! No, because obviously, there are tons of factors that play into this equation. These factors include:
- Which joint?
- Fitness background of client.
- Acute or chronic issue.
- Doctor’s care or not.
- Surgery or not.
Overall, yes, dynamic warm-ups can be done with people with joint issues. So, how do they go about this?
The Tiered Level Protocol
The tiered level protocol is based upon NASM’s first two parts of the Corrective Exercise model. Those parts are:
- Lengthen Static.
- Lengthen Active-Isolated.
- Lengthen Dynamic.
Inhibit is where you use some sort of trigger point or device such as a foam roller to find overactive or tight muscles that need to be released or relaxed.
Lengthen is where you take that same muscle that you inhibited and improve its range of motion through static, active isolated & dynamic stretching.
So, my suggestion is working with clients who have joint issues is to use this tiered approach to eventually get them to a dynamic warm-up.
For example, if a client has ankle joint issues and their assessment shows an overactive gastrocnemius and soleus, you could do the following warm-up:
- Inhibit: calves (use trigger point grid foam roller or lacrosse ball)
- Lengthen: calves (static calf walk stretch to an active-isolated calf stretch)
- Dynamic Warm-Up (prisoner squats or heel walks)
Here are some of my favorite dynamic warm-up exercises to use. Once again, I do these with my clients only after I’ve done steps 1-3 of the tiered level protocol.
- Tube Walking
- Dowel Squat with Calf Raise
- Most-Fit Core Hammer Stir the Pot
- Medicine Ball Rotations
- Russian Twist
- Push-Up With Rotation
- Flyte Fitness Core Flytes Side Lunge
- Stroops Agility Drills
Dynamic warm-ups have been popular and are here to stay. Not only can they be done for the healthy population, but, they can also be done with those clients that have joint issues. I recommend you use the tiered level protocol that I described earlier. Have fun with it and be creative, yet safe!
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