Warm Up, Mobilize and Stretch Properly: Most People Do It Wrong!

Warm Up, Mobilize and Stretch Properly: Most People Do It Wrong!

Many myths and methods are concerned with the question of what our bodies need help with before and after sport to be fit. We are talking about the right warm-up, stretching and mobilizing . But one thing can be said with certainty: most people do it wrong!

Christoph Lamprecht

Pull a bit, stretch a bit and off to the work-out. Although many hobby athletes know from hearsay that the right preparation for training should bring positive effects for one’s own performance , but more details usually remain in the dark. Accordingly, the effects of the loveless, because improper warming up tend to end sooner. On the other hand there are the Active Isolated Stretching fanatics who painfully exhaust the limits of their mobility with long static stretching before, during and after the sport – and are thus on the wrong track just like the Dehnmuffel.

What is the right way to prepare the body for the coming strain? How much agility do you need as a hobby athlete in order to master sporting tasks in the best possible way and without pain? The answer, like the topic itself, is complex and inevitably demands the counter-question as to what the athlete’s claim is.

That classic runners do not have the same movement patterns and radii as ballet dancers or martial artists is obvious. This results in the warming up of the muscles, in mobilizing the joints, but also in stretching altogether completely different priorities. Of course, it is also important for the runner to counteract restrictions on movement in the best possible way in order to remain sufficiently mobile and pain-free in the long term. However, maintaining flexibility is not only about finding a suitable balance to the type of sport practiced, but also less about teaching hobby athletes undifferentiated positions such as the balancing act.


When warming up, as the name implies, the body temperature is increased by movement and the blood circulation is boosted. This can easily reach fit people with easy running (including squat, Anfersen etc.) , jumping rope or other exercises.

The purpose of warming up and stretching in sports science is primarily called injury prevention, even if the positive effects could not be clearly proven to this day. The fact that an increased mobility also prevents a large number of injuries seems to be obvious, but it is well known that not only athletes with mobility deficits , but also well-stretched ones injure themselves in sports .
SPORTaktiv expert Mario Nerad, personal trainer of “Vibes Fitness” in Graz, calls another important aspect of the warm-up, which is overlooked by many: “The warm-up also means the mental readiness for what follows. Warm-up can thus be understood as a ritual and signals to the body that it starts now.

Anyone who is completely lost in sports with their thoughts runs the risk of hurting even in harmless work-outs . “


The first warm-up phase is followed by mobilization – specifically those areas that are then needed for sports. Of course, those who struggle after a long day’s work with a stiff neck or tired wrists also mobilize these body parts (at best not only before training).


Whether to stretch before a burden is still the focus of studies that do not always come to a clear conclusion. In principle, stretching before the actual effort is only recommended in disciplines where extreme flexibility is a prerequisite for sporting success. For example, during stretching, gymnasts place the joints in the final position even before the actual load, which they should also take during the competition. For most amateur athletes , it is therefore advisable to concentrate on mobilization before training or competition and to use stretching as a separate training session .

With a myth, we also want to clean up here: Proper stretching has no negative effect on strength training, as is often claimed. Contrary to the practice in many gyms , however, one should not stretch the just trained muscle. Especially not if you already feel the hard circulation caused by strong circulation (“pump”) in the corresponding muscle.

Vibe fitness expert Mario Nerad even recommends stretching in splits. “Meaning: you never stretch the entire body, but only the body parts that are not primarily burdened at the work-out .”

EXTENSIONS IS NO ALL-ORIENTED Remedy To be able to “stretch”

muscle shortening, sore muscles or even minor injuries, as often happens, does not work. The stretching is to be regarded not as a panacea for painful movement restrictions, but is only one of the tools for the preservation or the acquisition of functional mobility is used. “The decisive factor here is the right combination of mobilization and stretching exercises, ” says internationally recognized stretch specialist Karin Albrecht, “but it can turn out very differently depending on the person and their needs.”

Basically, the Swiss called the stretching of the muscles both in sports and in therapy as useful and also necessary, ” to optimize mobility, performance and regeneration . The prerequisite for this, however, is the concrete knowledge of physical strengths and deficits as well as the targeted application of stretch stimuli in order not to cause even negative effects. “


Katrin describes one of the most frequent mistakes that athletes make in this area over and over again Zunkovic from Vibes Fitness’s impatience. “Many try to reach something too fast. agilityHowever, it takes time and discipline to achieve that. “What this means in concrete terms, Karin Albrecht described in her standard work” Stretching and Agility, “in which she speaks of a period of 360 to 700 days, which requires the connective tissue to adapt to new length requirements , “If after 6 to 9 months of consistent stretching no positive effects on the mobility set, it is advisable to take both Dehnanwendung and its execution as well as the affected muscles and joints again under the microscope.”

The fact that the head first has to be trained to improve the physical radii of movement may sound funny and is not even known to most athletes. The most important factor for individual mobility is seen in today’s sport science but the nervous system.

In the brain of every human being, neural patterns that dictate individual mobility arise through daily exercise habits . On the one hand, the brain has to learn movements in order to perform them optimally, on the other hand, the body allows only the eccentric deformation that he already knows. Among other things, the neural influence on mobility was proven by the fact that people under anesthesia – without conscious control – were much more mobile than in consciousness. The extension pain acts as a kind of neural stop and is intended to signal that you are approaching areas in which the corresponding body site is not normally located.


Because adaptation processes are continuousMobilizing, stretching and, above all, demanding time, should be clear about what you really want to achieve. Thus, for fitness and amateur athletes, the question arises, how much mobility is necessary at all, if there are no painful blockages. Katrin Zunkovic: “Someone who does sports twice an hour for one hour does not have the same mobility as a professional gymnast. Stretching and mobilization should be seen in the field of hobby especially as a balance to everyday life and the sport. Example: Most office workers are in a flex position during the day, which is best counteracted by activation of the extensor muscles. “

The fact that regeneration is reduced in principle to the body level today is strongly criticized by stretching expert Karin Albrecht. For them, regeneration is synonymous with relaxation and the ability to recover. “The so-called ‘cooldown’ is useful as a counterpart to warming up for both the body and the psyche. Light intensity exercise or leisurely pace will keep your body temperature and heart rate steadily low, saving your body the shock of an abrupt stop. ” STRENGTH AS A RITUAL

In stretching after exerciseAlbrecht sees a good possibility to switch from the willingness to perform (sympathetic nervous system) in the relaxation (parasympathetic nervous system). For example, post-stretching is a doubly meaningful ritual that is important for both flexibility and mental and vegetative regeneration.

Of course, whether re-stretching has a positive or negative effect on regeneration also depends on how it is performed: if the body’s recovery capacity is to be improved, it must be stretched so that the microcracks, which can cause muscle soreness and repair, can lead to muscle growth. not be further enlarged. In addition, the purpose of post-stretching is also in stimulating blood circulation. For this reason, after the load is stretched, either static or intermittent, with a light, at best medium load.
Even though the complexity of the topic makes many amateur athletes more discouraged, additional agility and freedom from pain make them feel completely new. Promised.