How to warm up smarter to prevent injuries

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Everyone’s heard you should get a little loose and do some slow exercises before you start the real stuff.  But investigators in Norway went way beyond stretching and showed a significant decrease in injuries in teenage, female soccer players (pdf file)  by doing so.  They were concerned there were too many injuries in these young athletes and decided to try a rigid, 20-minute exercise program prior to practices and games, called the 11 Injury Prevention Program.

The exercises–specific running, jumping and stretching activities–attempt to build core stability, strength and balance.  Compliance was improved by providing coaches with DVDs, posters, exercise cards and telephone feedback.  The control group just warmed up in their usual manner.

At the end of the season there were one-third fewer overall injuries in the 11 Injury Prevention Program and one-half fewer severe injuries, defined as those that kept a player out for over 28 days.

Females have about as many overall soccer injuries as males, but three to five times more anterior cruciate ligament tears which are serious knee injuries.  The Program decreased those also.

If you have any teens playing sports you may want to take a look at the study and program.  Come to think about it, old coots probably would benefit also.

What do you think?

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9 Responses to “How to warm up smarter to prevent injuries”

  1. Blake Says:

    Thanks for the links to the study and program. I will check them out.

    Blakes last blog post..Make Changes That Last a Lifetime

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Blake, you are welcome.
    Let me know what you think.

  3. Steve Parker, M.D. Says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, especially when some sources pooh-pooh the idea of warming up at all.


    Steve Parker, M.D.s last blog post..Prepare For Weight Loss, Part 5: Supportive Social System

  4. Sagan Says:

    That’s some incentive to take the time to do a proper warm up before exercising. This program looks really great! I like how detailed the pdf is.

  5. jhubbard Says:

    I kind of let it slide also, Dr. Parker. Thanks

  6. jhubbard Says:

    Sagan, I agree. It is very structured, and that’s what helps apparently.

  7. Mark Says:

    A very informative piece…thanks!

    Marks last blog post..Stair Challenge

  8. Dr. J Says:

    Great information! I used to stretch the old way, but now try to stay with a more dynamic stretching regimen. I don’t injure myself as much anymore!

    Dr. Js last blog post..Looking for an independent woman? Check out her waist

  9. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Great Dr. J,
    I hope youth groups get this info.

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