Conditioning Pt 2 – Warm-ups & Cool-downs

28 Dec

According to Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete, a human study showed that “70% of people who exercised without a warm-up developed abnormalities in the electrical signals to their hearts.” Yowza! Aside from all the normal reasons to warm-up (stretch muscles/tendons/ligaments, dilate blood vessels, align bones, distribute synovial fluid over joints) this one was a surprise, and quite compelling. It also stated that “in a study of Olympic athletes running the 100m race, those who did not warm up ran 7% slower. This is the difference between winning and finishing dead last.”

This is a good point for gaiting in the ring, too. While the conformation ring doesn’t require complex movements like jumping or weaving, it does require fluid and relaxed movement. A dog just pulled from his crate won’t move with the same ease as a dog who has jogged a few minutes and stretched his legs. In my experience Wally is a lot more relaxed both mentally and physically if he’s had a little bit of a workout.

Duration: 90 seconds
Goal: flex and extend the spine and legs, increase heart rate and blood flow, focusing exercises
– Give him a good rubdown to increase body awareness. Move from nose to tail and “activate” every body part.
– Have the dog stretch his spine (like a cat stretch)
– Lure the dog to stretch his spine from side to side
– Trot down and back about 50ft to get the blood pumping
– Have him focus on you

A cool-down is important to prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure, which could cause dizziness. [I admit, even as I wrote that I thought it sounded silly. Who knows, they can’t talk!] It also allows the dog to downshift a few gears from competition to “just hanging out”.

Even NFL players take a few moments to decompress

Duration: 5 minutes
Goal: physical recovery, decompress mentally
– Walk at a moderate pace and in a relaxed manner

I’ll admit, I don’t do warm-ups when I personally workout — no stretching, no arm circles, I just start slow for a few minutes and then increase the pace. Apparently fitness experts agree with me and most give the thumbs down on pre-workout stretches. The above isn’t so much stretching as it is truly warming things up, though, so focus more on moving than on stretching.

Up Next…Making the Plan




Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Other Stuff


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: