Some thoughts around "warm-ups" and the proper order of training

Firstly, I'd like to correct some misconceptions about what a warm-up is:

"a period or act of preparation for a match, performance, or exercise session, involving gentle exercise or practice"

A warm-up is the five minutes you spend at the beginning of a session prepping your limbs for the physical activity that's about to happen. This is important because with a little warm-up your body prepares itself physiologically for the exercise that's about to happen and this keeps injuries to a minimum. A few key points about warm-ups:
  • Your action should closely mimic the action that you're about to do
  • Your body only needs a few reps to get up to speed with what's happening (if we needed 30mins of warm-up we'd all have been eaten by tigers a long time ago...)
  • Stretching is not warming up. You can do a warm-up then a few stretches once warm because you're feeling a little tight, that's cool, but stretches are not substitutes for warm-ups.
Cool. Glad we're all clear on this: warm-ups are short, less intense versions of what you're about to do. A typical warm-up = 5-10 mins tops, anything following this is training.

Now it's an endless annoyance to me see workshops (especially beginner workshops) where the "warm-up" includes a portion of physical training, i.e. sit-ups, press-ups etc etc. I don't mind PT (but I do it on my own time) and it irks me because from an instruction point of view it's bad from both an audience participation perspective and a health and safety perspective to tire out your class with PT before you do your sword swinging. People are capable of learning less and are less safe when they are tired. The "correct" order for training should be: warm-up, games or light technical training, sparring, then any PT and stretching.  

So, why do instructors smash out the PT at the beginning of classes? TBH in my head when it happens it's mostly because that's how they've always done it or seen it done. Doubt they've even thought about it for a minute. Or it's because they are making a point of some sort either about how fit they are or as a means of sorting the wheat from the chaff. Either way, it doesn't say anything good about the class.


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