Having grown my roots, from inside the rings of four corners, I traded punches with the then best pugilists Mohammed Ibrahim (Railways, Bronze medallist Asian Games 1984 and Salim Siddiqui international) to name a few. Not a lot of water has passed under the bridge, to make a statement that nothing has changed much with regards to the term ‘warming up’. It was a norm and a way of life for boxers to run a 25 km everyday as a part of training.
Warm-ups then and now remain a ritual still. One can see an array of treadmills, ellipticals, etc., decking up the frontal portico of a gym without much of a practical impact on the training. Real and old school of weight-training holds no space for twaddle. The real definition of health in one single word would be ‘strength’, as Swami Vivekananda has rightly put forward “Strength is life and weakness is death”.
Around 20 minutes to 30 minutes of warm-up sessions advised by trainers seem to be a sheer waste of time and effort. When asked why is warm-up required, an instant reply would be to save oneself from injuries. So, the next question is ‘what causes an injury?’ You will get a thousand answers but not a single satisfying answer, scientifically valid.
An injury is caused by a force that has the potential to disintegrate your structural integrity. A force cannot be avoided in the field of play, but in a controlled environment like a gym, this force can be controlled. When warm-ups are required to keep the injury at bay, does anyone in their right mind require to do an extended warm-up prior to a session of lifting weights?
Now, the second point I would like to emphasise is also a scientific fact — the body uses muscle glycogen as its first source of energy known as anaerobic energy to perform any given physical task. It’s only later that the anaerobic energy is depleted by the body’s energy system to continue performing work.
When this energy is used up during the ritual called warm-up, will the athlete or physical culturist be left with anaerobic energy sufficient enough to justify his/her sport or lifting activity efficiently? Most of the sports require explosive moves, which are solely dependent on muscle glycogen or anaerobic energy as its primary source, so does it make much sense for a physical enthusiast spending this precious scarce energy on warm-ups? I would bluntly say no to long warm-up sessions.
This debate may draw endless contradictions which are opinion-based. Let the chips fall where they may — I have this to say: “If the conductor has to lead the orchestra successfully, he will have to turn his back on the audience”.