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RAMP: Raise, Activate, Mobilize, and Potentiate
First and foremost, it’s good to know what RAMP actually stands for.
- R = Raise your metabolic indicators (this is your heart rate and breathing). You need to get your blood pumping with warm-ups such as speed training on a bike, sprinting on the spot or star jumps.
- A = Activate your muscles.
- M = Mobilize your joints.
- P = Potentiate movement, so you are increasing the intensity.
RAMP is a great way to get your body warmed up for any form of activity and has tons of long-lasting benefits too, making it one of the best warm-ups you can do.
What Is an Ideal RAMP Warmup?
Many people skip the warm-up and dive straight in thinking it’s not an important part of exercising. There are many excuses why people miss a warm-up, like they don’t have the time or don't need to warm up as they never feel stiff or get injured. Anyone who is going to exercise must warm-up before running, tennis, or any other sport, and skipping a warmup could be detrimental as it can lead to injury. Whatever your sport or activity, there is no excuse not to warm up properly.
It only takes a few minutes. All you need to do is dedicate between 5-10 minutes prior to exercise to add RAMP into your pre-workout routine. Once you get into the swing of it, it will just become part of your full workout routine rather than something you have to make time for.
4 Ramp Warm-Ups
A good analogy for warming up is thinking about your muscles as blue-tac or plasticine. When you first take hold of blue-tac, it’s very cold and hard, but after you've handled it, heating it up and stretching it out, the more malleable it becomes. Your muscles work in exactly the same way, so these 5-10 minutes can make all the difference to your performance.
1. Raise Your Heart Rate With Something Active
So let's start with the R in RAMP. We need to get your heart rate and breathing up. This can include spinning your legs on a bike, jog on a treadmill, star jumps, running on the spot or some high knees; are all good exercises for increasing that heart rate and getting those muscles moving. Because we are just warming up, these quick exercises can last around 30 seconds of movement—you want to aim to spend a minute or two raising your metabolic heart rate until moving onto the next part of the RAMP warms up.
2. Activate Your Shoulder, Core, Calf, and Glute Muscles
Moving onto A - activating your muscles. This is a very important part of a warm-up and is one that can prevent injury if you warm up your muscles properly. The main muscles you want to focus on are activating your shoulders, core, and glutes - this can also be determined by the sport too. For example, if you are warming up for a run then you will want to focus more on engaging your glutes, core, and calf muscles. For activities like tennis, you will want to engage the shoulder muscles more, along with the glutes and core.
Use Resistance Bands: Using bands is a good way of activating your muscles, as you have some resistance to pull back on. You can do some simple stretches targeting the muscles you are going to use too, along with some hip thrusts and/or some planks to work the core muscles. Again these don't have to be lengthy exercises, the aim is just to get them feeling a little warmer for your main workout.
3. Mobilize Your Joints With Lunges, Squats, Etc.
The next area to focus on is mobilizing your joints. Again this is a very important aspect of warming up, as it can massively reduce injury and allow you to perform better, as your joints are a little warmer. Exercises for this may include lunges, deep squats, inchworms, and/or lizard lunges. Certain yoga poses too are a great one for this area of warming up. All these exercises should stretch out everything to really feel like your muscles and joints are warming up. Again you can target the areas that will be used most or you can do a bit of a full-body warm-up so you are ready for your full workout.
4. Potentiate by Increasing Intensity
The final stage to warming up is P, which stands for potentiate movement. This is where you are working up to a little more intense training closer to your working intensity. You're basically ‘ramping it up a notch—excuse the pun!. Exercises for this may include some more intense jumping or high knees (faster and more intense than the previous raising of the heart rate). You may choose to add a little more weight to these last set of warm-up exercises, so you are closer to your intended workout.
This stage can be very dependent on the type of activity you are moving on to do for your full workout. For example, if you are warming up for a long run then focusing on some intense high knees, star jumps or bumpees would work well. If you are about to move onto a weight session in the gym, then practicing your intended moves with smaller weights than your usual would be a good idea.
Once you have completed these four short steps to warming up you should feel much warmer and ready for your intense workout. All the movements above should be pain-free including your actual workout. Should you feel any pain or discomfort you may need to see a physio or doctor depending on the pain you are feeling.
It's amazing how spending 5-10 minutes warming up can make you feel so much more prepared for your workout physically and mentally—it's just planning the time to make your workout include 5-10 minutes beforehand.
Examples of RAMP Exercises
So a summary of RAMP Exercise examples could be the following:
When running, you can start off with a gentle jog at ‘R” then when a few squats and lunges for the ‘A’ then some hamstring stretches as well as Glute stretches for ‘M’ and finally ‘P” can be simple sprints.
Not only is including RAMP into your workout, but spending 5-10 minutes after your workout to cool down is just as important. You will reduce injury and shouldn't feel as stiff after your workout. I hope that's helped inspire you to not only warm up but to work out too and get your body moving. If you have any more RAMP exercises that work well for you, then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Hugo Totty