Research Review: One Of These Warm-Ups Will Improve Your Power

Any Hockey Players Want More Power?

There is constantly new research coming out every week suggesting that this training method is better than that one.  It is a bit like taking a hike in the Amazon jungle, although at times it may be beautiful and pure, other times there can be questionable species lurking in the shadows.

What I mean is that some researchers do a great job of controlling the variables they are studying and drawing some very nice conclusions, whereas others are looking to make a splashy headline and have skewed the results – even though that is strictly taboo in the academic world – it happens.

I am going to help guide you through some of that research and give some practical applications which will either help reduce your risk of injury or improve your performance on the ice, so let’s get started with this study on the effect of different warm-up protocols on lower body power.

Crow, JF, Buttifant, D, Kearny, SG, Hrysomallis, C. “Low load exercises targeting the gluteal muscle group acutely enhance explosive power output in elite athletes.” J Strength Cond Res 26(2):438-442, 2012

The purpose of this study which recruited 30 elite level Australian Rules Football players was to answer the question – Which is the most effective warm-up protocol in terms of its effect on peak power production during counter movement jump testing?

The counter movement jump is simply a vertical jump in which the athlete is allowed to drop into a partial squat before performing the jump.

The three warm-up protocols that were tested included:

  • A dynamic warm up consisting of low load (bodyweight) activation exercises targeting the gluteal group – gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
  • A passive warm-up using a whole body vibration device which is a platform that oscillates at set frequencies and amplitudes.  These have been on the scene for quite a few years and it looks like researchers are still trying to figure out if the expense justifies the benefits (where benefits actually exist).
  • No warm-up at all

After completing the warm-up protocol (each athlete was tested under the different warm up variables on different days) the athlete’s counter movement jump was tested.  The counter movement jump is an accepted measure of lower body power.

The athletes who completed the low load glute activation dynamic warm up performed statistically better on their counter movement jump (4-6% improvement) compared to the other warm-up protocols.

The researchers concluded that the low load involved in the research protocol minimized the risk of injury or fatigue prior to testing or competition which would be a benefit to athletes in sports with high demands for explosive power and output from the lower limbs.

What exactly was this activation protocol – actually it involved quite a few of the exercises we have gone over on this site before, but here is the exact list.  The athletes completed one set of 10 repetitions of each exercise:

  • Double Leg Bridge
  • Quadruped Lower Extremity Hip Lift
  • Quadruped Hip Abduction
  • Side Lying Clam in 60° Hip Flexion
  • Side Lying Hip Abduction
  • Prone Single Leg Hip Extension
  • Double Leg Stability Ball Squat

In the experimental environment this warm up took 5-7 minutes to complete.  So if you are looking for a quick dynamic warm up that will improve your power without fatigue before heading out on the ice, give these a try.

Not sure what all of these exercises are?  Don’t worry – I will post a video of them later in the week– just click the “Like” button if you think this sounds fair – then I will know you are serious about it.