COACHES CORNER - Stop Dysfunction: Prevent Injury and Increase Performance by Warming Up Correctly

It was my first time playing for the seniors, I was 15 and knew nothing about anything, up until this point every game from warm up to cool down was run by a coach, I had never really thought about how or why I should warm up.

Anyway, I turned to the senior captain and asked what I should do to warm up, he replied “ah just summa deez and then we will be good to go” swinging his arms out and in a couple of times, touched the floor, shook out his legs and he was done. 

I responded in kind and got ready for the game, 5 minutes in my hamstring popped, I missed the rest of the season and to this day 15 years later I still have issues with my left hamstring.

What I now know is that a warm up isn’t just there to raise your heart rate, anyone who has been made to “just run a lap” ahead of a game or training session will know that is often the extent of a warm up, but a good warm up is also able to mobilise (open up) our joints and prepare for the activity we are about to perform, a great warm up and cool down will even take some time to work on existing dysfunctions and work towards fixing them.

I could write a thesis on the myriad of common drills to help mobilise and correct dysfunctions in athletes so let’s looks at just two areas the Shoulders and the Hips, these are the two major joints we use while powerlifting and the two areas where I tend to see the most dysfunction; I will give you a way to mobilise and activate the muscles and joints, both of which will potentially improve each joints function and help prevent injury. 


The Shoulders

Mobilise: Shoulder Dislocates

A simple exercise to open up your shoulder joint that only requires a mini band or light weight pole simple hold the band wider than shoulder width with your elbows locked out and bring it over your head down towards your bum, release your elbows and bring it back over your head. Do this slowly and feel the stretch at the band contracts against the movement, to advance the movement, bring your hands closer together. 

Activation: Banded Y’s 

This exercise also only requires a mini band to perform, simply loop your band around a fulcrum at hip height, from there grab the band with your hands wider than your shoulders similar to the last exercise. Keep your arms straight and bring them up either side of your head to create a Y shape, squeeze at the very top of the movement to activate not only your shoulders but the rest of your upper back. 


The Hips

Mobilise: Hip Grinder

Setting up in a push up position bring one foot up and outside of your elbow, keeping the heel down on the ground, from there we are going to move around holding this position, push into your hips over and over again using your hips to create a figure of 8 motion. You should feel your whole hip girdle loosen as we progress, change legs and repeat as needed. 

A variation using a mini band can be shown here, however this exercise is perfectly good without band resistance: 


Activation: Fire Hydrants 

Set yourself on the floor on your hands and knees, clamp your heel tightly to your glute and then draw progressively bigger and bigger circles with your knee, remember to resist the urge to kick out with your foot instead focusing on keeping your heel as close to your glute as possible.

We demonstrate this exercise in our Youtube series, the exercise has been timestamped for you below: 


Want to learn more about improving your shoulders and hips?

Check out our video series below:

Fixing Hip Impingement & Hip Pain

Fixing tight Necks, Shoulders & Hips 


Remember to implement these movements before your next session at the gym, and keep those shoulders and hips healthy!

Strength & Conditioning Coach

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