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Office of Work-Life Programs (CG-111) -
Coast Guard Athleticism Program

Movement Preparation

Traditionally when people prepare to train they enter into a routine that primarily consists of a mixture of stretching, as well as a form of general activity to warm up tissue before engaging in activity.

Stretching is an important part of any warm up or cool down. It is vital for injury prevention, muscle recovery, optimizing muscle gains and increasing flexibility. However, there are different types of stretching, and each affects your body in different ways. That being said, it is important to understand how, and when to use different types of stretching.

Static stretching, holding a stretch for a long duration of time, works by sending a message to the muscle saying, "shut this tightness off," ultimately forcing the muscle to release and relax. Whether you are preparing to train or begin work on your operational platform, movement requires dynamic, fluid action. By holding long static stretches right before a bout of activity, you are effectively shutting off the muscles when you need them the most, making the upcoming physical demands harder on the body. It's not that static stretching is a bad idea; it can be a great tool when done correctly and at the appropriate time.

Static stretching is best used post-workout or at the end of the day to elongate the muscle and connective tissue, while turning off the nervous system (your brain and the nerves running to and from your muscles). It is also effective on recovery emphasis days, as long static holds help to produce long-term changes in the fascia (the band of elastic tissue that envelops the body, beneath the skin), ultimately improving muscle balance and flexibility.

Activities that are done to "warm up," or increase your body's temperature are often done without a specific purpose in mind, except of course to "warm up," or sweat. You may see people ride a stationary bike or go for a light jog for 5 minutes. There is nothing wrong with riding a stationary bike or going for a light run, as long as there is a purpose for it. You need to ask yourself this question: Is a light ride on a stationary bike appropriate for a Sailor who is warming up for multidirectional movements?

Pillar Preparation is a training component that is designed to strengthen the critical stabilizing muscles of your pillar: shoulders, torso and hips. By performing Pillar Preparation at the start of your training session, you are engaging or "turning on" the muscles that will help protect, stabilize and strengthen your pillar so that you are able to safely and effectively transfer energy throughout your body during the rest of your workout. In addition, Pillar Preparation will give you a solid foundation, which will allow you to perform your operational task at the best of your ability, all while reducing the chance of injury. A strong pillar will help keep you healthy and in peak form.

Handwalks Knee Hug Lateral Squat (Alt)
PVC Pipe Stretches Inverted Hamstring Spiderman Stretch
Reverse Lunge w/ Reach    
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Last Modified 1/7/2014