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Should I Warm-up?

Anyone who has ever thought that swimmers have it easy, has never been to an outddor meet in February.

This weekend I was asked by more than one swimmer, "Should I warm-up?".

Here is a bit of information from an article by Oliver Poirier Leroy:

Warming up gets your body to swim fast in a few different ways:

1. It raises core and body temperature. Heightened body temperature decreases the viscous resistance of muscles and joints, making your arms and legs more pliable and increase range of motion. 

2. Fires up your nervous system.  This is where you regain  your feel for the water, and also primes the fast twitch stuff (hence why coach has you do a couple sprints towards the end of your meet warm-up). Warming up has been shown to improve nerve conduction rate and also speeds up metabolic reactions (phosphate degradation in particular). 

3. Warms up your lungs. Ever noticed that when you first get in the water you can barely hold your breath long enough to do more than a couple  dolphin kicks off each wall? And that by the end of warm-up you can destroy your walls no problem? Your warm-up also acts as a respiratory warm-up, helping you avoid gasping for breath like an amateur during your races later in the session. 

4. Increases oxygen delivery. Oxygen is the fuel of our swimming . We can only go so long without oxygen before our performance declines and we eventually, like, die and stuff. A nice little warm-up has been shown to increase oxygen delivery to muscles.