The warm up and the cool down are two very important parts of any good competitive routine. It’s not just for working out and pushing yourself in the gym, but for any activity where you are going to be active.
These two steps are two of the most overlooked parts of an athlete’s preparation for competition. It can easily be passed up to save time or hurried if you are impatient and just want to get to “the meat” of the exercises
Because bowls is not intensely physical in comparison to sports like football, hockey or basketball it may seem like you don’t need much in the physical department to play a good game. Having good fitness and a solid pre and post game routine can make a significant difference in your performance over the course of a tournament or championship week.
Getting warmed up will make your muscles more elastic and allow for greater range of motion and ensure that you don’t waste time warming up in the first few ends of a game — a fast start can give you an edge. Think of your muscles like a lump of play-doh or clay — the more you work it, the more pliable it becomes. This is essentially what you are doing with your body, working it into a ready state. This can also benefit you in the injury department. Making sure you get your body ready will help prevent injuries that can come up when you start doing activities cold.
The cool down will help bring your heart rate down to a normal level, allow you to stretch all the used muscles so they will ache less. It’s also a perfect time to do some reflection on your performance and capture those tid-bits of knowledge you need for your future training, team debrief or to prepare for your next challenge.
I have started a collection of some of my favourite stretches that can be used for a warm up, cool down or even both. I like to mix it up so I don’t do the same thing over and over. So take a look and try to incorporate a good, solid warm up and cool down to your bowls routine.