Monday, April 09, 2007

Injury Resources - or - Warm up properly

There's nothing more frustrating than being injured. My latest hamstring injury made me search for information about injury details and rehabilitation. These, of course, are no replacement for a medically trained practitioner.

My favourite find in this search was from the Athletic Advisor and their section on Rehabilitation. Both my achilles and hamstring are covered in this section.

Pictured Above: Dave Ng catching a disc at Double Down in Central Michigan University (photo courtesy of Tim Chapman-Smith).

Now, as nice as this resource is, your goal should be not to have to use it. Both of my recent injuries are due to poor preparation, and I'm the type of person who mostly remembers how to warmup, but always forgets once in a while when I'm in a rush.

Solution - take your time. If you're a coach and for some strange reason your team is not warmed up properly at game time then maybe give the opposing team a five minute bonus point to make sure your team is warmed up. As a player be on time and actively engage in a proper warm-up.

Possible Routine (feel free to add):
  • Night Before
    • Good food - eat well in the lines of good carbohydrates and protein.
    • Hydrate - especially if alcohol or other dehydrating activity is involved (try to avoid excessive alcohol).
    • Pack your day bag for tomorrow.
    • Good night sleep - can be tricky with travel and partying, but guaranteed to help.
  • Morning
    • Wakeup - get some light in your room, and maybe shower.
    • Get dressed - playing clothes with warm layers (even in warm weather).
    • Eat - we find that hotels that include a breakfast are the best. You can get oatmeal, breads, fruit, juices, and coffee; you're not tempted to get a fast food meal like McDonalds.
    • Try for a movement in the hotel bathroom (use the hotels public restroom).
    • Fill water and maybe more hydration.
    • You should have everything prepared now, so it's a good time to start massaging and warming up your body and mind for game time.
  • Warm-up (min 1 hour, but I would argue more. A sprinter usually takes at least 45 minutes for a race. We need to both race, move in other directions, and throw.)
    • Cleat up
    • Light throwing while team gets prepared
    • 5-10 minute jog
    • Dynamic stretches
    • Line work - A,B,Cs and sprinter like movements
    • 5 to 10 Slow fluid runs
    • At this point it is open ended. You need to think about how your body is feeling and ask yourself if you need more basic warming up
    • Ultimate team drills - the first few are ones that allow people still warming up to warm up
The only remaining factor is what to do throughout the day to stay warmed up. For those of us who ride the bench for 4 or 5 points we also need to have some rituals to keep the body warm. Maybe something like a mini warm up in between points with a disc.

Pictured Above: Steve Tam tossing at Double Down in Central Michigan University (photo courtesy of Tim Chapman-Smith).

Finally, for those of you who are like myself and don't remember to always do the right things to prepare ourselves, I suggest finding either a season buddy or a tournament buddy. Agree to help each other get prepared and stay healthy.



Ian Wang said...

Hi PJ,

Good article, thanks. I just started an Ultimate coaching wiki geared at younger/less experienced teams. Right now it's hosted at my personal site at I'm looking to spread the word about it and get people to add content to it. I was wondering if you would mind posting your warm-up instructions to the wiki? You also have a lot of other good posts on conditioning and drill that a lot of people could benefit from.

Please help me spread the word!


Captain Orangutan said...

An interesting point I've come across a couple of times, including in an extensive study by the US army is that stretching prior to exercise was not effective in reducing injuries - that is the groups that stretched had similar rates of injury as those that did not. What the studies did find, though, was that a thorough active warmup was effective in reducing injury rates.