The two most important preparations for class are warming up and individual strengthening. The body is an instrument and must be prepared for the physical activity that the class demands of it.
The Warm Up
This must increase the internal body temperature; working the cardiovascular and respiratory systems together does that. (The cardiovascular system is the heart and blood network that carries oxygen to all the body cells and carbon dioxide away from the cells. The respiratory system consists of the lungs and airways that allow oxygen to be introduced into the body and carbon dioxide to be removed from the body.)
Increased heart activity and blood circulation and a simultaneous re-distribution of blood, means that the blood flow increases to the muscles.
In order to execute hard work the muscles’ metabolism must begin and this demands an increased flow of oxygen through the blood.
When the muscles are warm nerve impulses travel faster, thus improving the interplay between the working/contracting muscles and the muscles being released to allow the movement to take place. With the increase of the efficiency of the muscle work, relaxation and concentration are much easier to attain.
During the warm up the movement in the joints must be slowly increased. The function of the joint is to allow movement to take place between two bones and it is joints that allow the skeleton to be flexible. The main type of joint involved is the synovial joint (one that allows a free range of movement, for example the ankle, knee, hip, elbow and shoulder joints.)
Joints are complicated and important and must be treated with care and consideration by both teacher and student.
Gentle stretching should complete the warm up period. All bouncing, bobbing and lunging must be avoided. Use only static stretching. (It does not involve a strong stretch reflex.)
Remember during the whole warm up routine to breath with slow deep inhalations and long slow exhalations.
Teach and supervise a correct warm up.