Warming up is a key component in preparing athletes to optimally perform in the weight room, on the practice field and most importantly competition.
One key strategy we use with our athletes is The Get Moving RAMP Warm-up. This warm-up does several important things. It addresses soft tissue quality, like a massage does, to reduce any tension and/or knots, and improves muscle length/extensibility. It also improves mobility of the joints. It elevates body/core temperature and increases blood flow, by taking the body through multiple planes of movement. It charges up and excites the nervous system to prepare the athlete’s body for the demands of his or her workout, practice or game “” and the movement patterns (exercises) that will follow.
The Get Moving RAMP Workout serves multiple purposes, which contains the diaphragm breathing, range of motion, muscle activation and movement preparation.
A primary principle of RAMPing is that you start with exercises that are done on or near the floor, done in place, and are fairly low intensity. You’ll then progressively move to exercises that are done standing in place. Next, you’ll start moving, and the movements will become more athletic in nature.
Each RAMP has a minimum of 11 exercises, each of which is there for a very specific purpose.
Foam Roller/Ball SMR “” Each session starts with foam rolling and lacrosse ball self-massage to address soft tissue quality and help to iron out trigger points, “knots”, or adhesions.
Hip Stretch/Mobilization “” The hips are the centerpiece of the body and are an area of focus where we look to improve mobility. The first exercise is a stretch or mobilization for the hips.
Hip Stabilizer Activation Exercise (backside) “” This will be some type of hip bridge to wake up the often-dormant gluteus maximus (butt) and develop motor control.
Hip Stabilizer Activation Exercise (side) “” You’ll move to an exercise such as a clam shell to wake up the muscles on the outside of the hip, which help to control rotational and lateral movements of the upper leg.
Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercise (upper-back) “” This movement improves the extension and rotation capabilities of the upper half of the spine. This is a problematic area in most, and stiffness here can lead to a host of issues in the shoulders and lower back.
Scapular Stabilizer Activation Exercise (upper-back) “” We need to innervate some of the small stabilizer muscles such as the lower trapezius and the serratus anterior, which are often dormant and weakened muscles in the shoulder blades.
Ankle Mobility Exercise “” This movement helps to improve dorsi-flexion, or the ability of the shin to move toward the foot. This is a critical component of several patterns including walking, running, sprinting, deceleration, lunging, squatting, etc. Poor ankle mobility can also lead to knee pain.
Squat Mobility/Patterning Exercise “” The goal is to prepare the body for the demands of squat pattern and integrate (multiple joints working together) several of the key parts that you worked on earlier in the RAMP. Your goal is to develop a range of motion and control to enable you to squat deeply.
Hip Separation Exercise “” This exercise will have you spend some time standing on one leg and working on flexing or rotating one of your hips while the hip on your opposite side is extended. Prepare your body for the demands of the single-leg stance pattern.
Sagittal Plane Lunge Exercise “” Next, the athletes performs a lunge variation where your body moves in a more linear motion (straight ahead or straight back). Again, this is integrating several joints and “putting everything together.”
Frontal or Transverse Plane Lunge Exercise “” Finally, the athlete performs another lunge variation that is performed to the side or with a rotational component of the hips. The hips require movement in multiple planes of motion, which is why they require several drills to properly address this need.
The order of exercises can be changed a bit to follow the RAMPing principle that we discussed earlier. More than one exercise in a category can be added if needed, but the total amount of exercises should not exceed 8 to 12 (not including the foam rolling/ball self myofascial release).
Tim Rudd is an IYCA specialist in youth conditioning and owner of Fit2TheCore.