I understand the pressure you might feel, having limited time in the water, to quickly get into what you view as the main and most important part of your workout. This often compels people to skimp or skip a warm-up altogether. But the warm-up is more than about warming the body up and loosening the tissues and joints for action – it is about bringing all the performance subsystems (neural, muscular, metabolic, and mental) and parts of your being into the pool and into cooperation with one another so that more work can actually get accomplished during that main part of your workout. Reflect on the importance in different areas of life for starting with a check-in and unification among the players on a sports team, a group of coordinating dancers or musicians in a band, a team of co-workers or emergency response personnel. You are the leader of your body/mind – at the start of each practice, use the warm-up time to observe the starting condition of your subsystems, to focus and unify the member components to set the stage for producing better outcomes in your main sets. 
I recently had a reply from a swimmer I am coaching remotely through our Mediterra Dojo, who had reported struggling with attention and control on certain skills, as she had jumped ahead to do the more challenging parts of the assigned practice set… 
…I usually rush through warm-up. 3-4 lengths of breast stroke and then go for the drill. After your reply and some more reading – For yesterday’s session, I went for a full 15-20 mins of warm-up. Then chose the first 3 activities where I could maintain awareness of the chosen cue. And then a 200m cool down. What a difference! More than physical, the warm-up was mental – to reach a point where you have largely shifted away from all external matters and are now able to observe what is happening in the water. A much more satisfying and integrated session of learning, application and realisation of where something is going wrong.

How are you doing with your warm-up? I imagine you can think of a few high-performing professionals who take time to check-in and fully prepare their body and mind for the practice and performance ahead. Who can you use as a model for how you’d like to begin your time in the water, to make it most productive and satisfying? 

You may find more articles on the concepts of the warm up on this blog by typing in ‘tune up’ in the search box. 




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