In Part III of this article series, I covered the resistance training program considerations for endurance athletes. In Part IV, I will discuss warm-up and flexibility considerations for endurance athletes.
A proper warm-up prior to a training session or competition offers many benefits. Jeffreys (2008) has listed a number of benefits including an improved force development rate, improved strength and power expression, improved blood flow to working muscles, and increased oxygen delivery (p. 296). A well-designed warm-up includes a general warm-up of five to ten minutes of relatively low-intensity activity and a specific warm-up of eight to twelve minutes focused on dynamic stretching whereby the individual works on taking the body through movements that approximate the range of motion required for the activity or sport (Jeffreys, 2008, p. 297). Jeffreys has made the point that while static stretching has been a staple of warm-ups for some time, the practice may not be supported by research (p. 296). Jeffreys has indicated that stretching does not appear to prevent injury or post-exercise soreness and may even lead to decrements in running speed, strength endurance, power, and force production (p. 296). Static stretching might be warranted for activities and sports requiring a relatively large range of motion, but its inclusion in most warm-ups must be carefully considered (Jeffreys, 2008, p.296). As a general rule, static stretching would be best left for after a training session or competition.
In the fifth and final part of this five-part series, I will discuss a few closing thoughts on resistance training for endurance athletes.
Jeffreys, I. (2008). Warm-up and stretching. In T.R. Baechle & R. W. Earle (Eds.), Essentials of strength training and conditioning (3rd ed., pp. 295-324). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.