A warm up helps your body prepare itself before extensive exercise and dancing. A thorough warmup begins with movements followed by more specific steps and combinations for the appropriate style that you are training, that progressively builds to cause sweating, yet without becoming out of breath this includes general preliminary exercises such as jogging, jumping on the spot, skipping etc. As your body and muscles becomes warmer they become more flexible, this reduces muscle soreness after a dance class or performance and helps limit the risk of injuries. A warm up helps you to perform at your best whilst protecting your body and muscles.
During a warmup, blood flow increases to the muscles as well as increasing your heart rate and blood flow decreases to the digestive organs. Constant or hard exercise in warm ups increases blood flow and transfers warmth to the skin. This occurs so the exercise can be extended for a longer period of time. However, a warm up is a low-level activity which should be completed prior to stretching and more vigorous exercises. The main objective of a warm up is to increases the body temperature and muscle temperature to appropriately prepare the body for strenuous activity. After 30 minutes of no physical activity your body’s warmth will have completely be gone and you will need to warm up again. When you warm up, the volume of fluid and thickness of cartilage in the joints increases, which improves the joint’s ability to absorb shock and prevents and stops direct wear on the bones. Movement in the joint increases blood flow and raises the temperature, increasing elasticity in the joint’s supporting tissue. A proper warm up helps increase coordination and balance and further reinforces proper movement patterns.
A warm up should last about 15 minutes plus. after your warmup you must consider stretching, each stretch should last about 20-30 seconds except a nerve stretch which should be held for 10 seconds. Stretching is a predominant part before dance classes and performances, stretching keeps the muscles strong and flexible and we need that flexibility to help maintain the area of movements in the joints. Without stretching, the muscles can shorten and become tight leaving them weak and unable to extend putting you at risk of strains and injuries.
Different types of warmups
Jumping side to side
Arm circles and shoulder circles
Different types of stretches
Dynamic (moving stretch)
Static (holding stretch)
PNF (hold and release)
Ballistic (bouncing or pulsing stretch- this stretch may cause injuries and is advised not to do it)