Warm-up exercises are an important part of injury prevention for athletes of all ages. Over 30% of injuries seen by sports medicine clinics are skeletal muscle injuries. These injuries include muscle tears, strains, and contusions which can be prevented by warming up and stretching.
Dynamic exercises are best for warm-ups as they involve more natural and active movement in the muscles. These exercises prepare the athlete for the movements they will perform in their sport such as running and jumping. Neuromuscular Training (NMT) is a type of dynamic warm-up suggested by our friends at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).
Neuromuscular training is a type of dynamic warm-up that helps coordinate the body’s movement by helping the brain communicate with the muscles more efficiently. Over many years and many research studies, NMT has been proven to reduce injury rates and improve sports performance in middle and high school athletes. Jimmy Russomano is the Senior Manager of Injury Prevention Programs at HSS. According to Jimmy, “the sad reality is that injuries are always going to happen in sports. Believe it or not, using bad form when jumping, landing, running, or changing direction can put an athlete at a very high risk of injury.” NMT is meant to teach safe and correct techniques. HSS has taken these principles and created 10-minute warm-up programs for anyone to use.
These exercises can be used with any sport, so they are a great resource for volunteer coaches to use at the beginning of games or practice. Though these warm-up programs are geared toward middle and high schoolers, it is safe to introduce them to younger kids as well. You may need to modify the time or skip a few of the more complex movements for younger athletes, but it’s never too early to start learning the correct techniques! Choose between the red or blue warm-up videos below to get started.
The Youth Sports Safety Program created by HSS is a free course library that we encourage both parents and coaches to utilize! These on-demand courses offer injury prevention workshops for anyone at any time including parents, coaches, and PE teachers.