Championships are coming up. It is time to talk about Pre-Race Warm-ups. Warming up before the race is crucial to the body and mind. There is a lot of information out there about the body and the mind before the race… some swimmers stare off into the distance, some act out their race behind the block, some listen to music, some dance, some goof off with friends… there are a ton of ways to prepare for your race. The key to a successful meet is knowing your way to ‘get in the zone’. When it is the 3rd day of HARD racing, your body and mind are exhausted. We all need to find the best way to keep our body and minds engaged and ready to race.
What happens if you do not warm up the body properly?
Going from completely rested to all out racing increases the risk of cramps and fatigue which impact each race. This leads to bad mental state, feeling down, focusing on what went wrong, exhaustion, and tons more that impacts you, your races, and your teammates. We are all in this together and we all need to encourage and support each other.
In-Water Pre-Race Warm-up:
You can focus on the details of the race…turns, tempo, finishes, breakouts and all of the details your coach and you have spent MONTHS or even YEARS working on. All of this is critical in competition as this gets your body used to the water and the muscles energized. This also gets you into the mindset of the next race.
Dryland Pre-Race Warm up:
This is something that you see all the time behind the blocks. Kids are shaking their arms and legs, jumping up and down, doing jump tucks, stretching, some even do push-ups and burpees! All of these things prevent the muscles from getting ‘cold’ or ‘tight’ which lead to cramps and such. Another way we can optimize dryland pre-race warm ups is using the ONEBow. I have created a full stroke warm up progression full of stretching and getting the muscles ready for the race. Here are all of the progressions complete with a description, do’s, and don’t’s.
Freestyle Pre-Race Warm-up
Like all strokes, even Freestyle needs to be broken up into sprint and distance freestlye. Sprint Freestyle is also called Shoulder Driven Freestyle and Distance Freestyle, Hip Driven Freestyle.
Backstroke Pre-Race Warm-up
In Backstroke, the main things to focus on is tempo and power. This warm-up builds into the stroke and builds into tempo while focusing on activating the muscles. Through the Warm-Up there is a clear building of intensity and focus on the race.
Breaststroke Pre-Race Warm-up
Breaststroke is a little more difficult to narrow in what will maximize the body and mind engagement. This warm-up focuses mainly on the arms and activating the legs through squat jumps. If you would like a more in-depth BR Hip mobility warm-up check out Gary Hall and The Race Club.
Butterfly Pre-Race Warm-up
Butterfly is a good combination of FR and BK where most of the focus is on tempo and high catch power. This Warm-Up builds intensity by focusing on mobility and activating muscles then focusing on activating the power and increasing tempo by the end.
All of these Warm-ups are something that I have incorporated into my dryland and race rituals with all of my swim groups. I believe it is imperative to introduce this in your practice at least 2 weeks or so before trying to incorporate this into your meets. This is so the swimmers are used to the process and not trying to learn on the fly which can be VERY distracting.
For more information about dryland, check out the following links.
The biggest dryland reference file in Swimming: ONE Train Savage