Warming up gives you the edge all season

Ka kitea ngā hua o te mahi whakamahana tinana i te roanga o te whakataetae

The winter sports season is shorter this year because of COVID-19 lockdown, so conditioning is more important than ever to make the most of it.

Now that New Zealand is at Alert Level 1, we want to get back with our teammates on the field, making up for that lost time in lockdown. But are we ready?

The short answer is 'not yet'. The lack of team training and conditioning for over two months, in what's usually the pre-season, will have a big impact on team performance. And that's even if you kept up your own fitness regime at home. You need your teammates to train with for tackling, kicking, sprinting, and pivoting skills needed for a game.

A women's rugby team stretches before the game.
How important are warm ups for your fitness?

Agree with your thinking

Being match-fit is different to being fit. Even ex-All Black great Dan Carter says so. "I'm fit but not rugby fit," he told media after signing with the Blues for this season, adding that he'll only play if his form is good.

So, how can you get your performance as good as it can be for this shortened season?

Use dynamic warm ups

Athletes will become fitter, faster and stronger when they do warm ups. The ACC Sportsmart warm up is a physical conditioning and neuromuscular training programme. Used twice a week as part of training it helps prepare the body for being match ready. 

The ACC SportSmart dynamic warm up includes a training and a game-day version. There are beginner, intermediate and advanced options for you to progress through as your condition improves.

Training warm up

  • 20-30 minutes twice a week
  • Conditions your body to move in different directions, with short bursts of forwards, backwards and sideways running, plus jumping and squatting
  • Builds contact resilience
  • Builds muscle stamina and strength.

Game-day warm up

  • 10-20 minutes on game day
  • Focusses on five activities to get your body ready to move in different directions relevant to gameplay
  • Contributes to conditioning built up throughout weekly training sessions.

Advice for players

Give yourself time to get back up to match-fitness. 

Keep these tips in mind:

  • recognise and accept that this season isn't normal so give yourself time to build up fitness and focus on the long game
  • you'll reach your potential faster and get better results if you focus on building up your sport-specific physical condition gradually
  • the best thing you can do for your team is to take your time to get back to your best
  • you've waited this long to get back into sport, don't blow your season by going too hard too soon!

Advice for coaches

When starting back into team sport, training sessions should focus on physical conditioning and developing fitness specifically for that sport. This will help reduce the chance of your players getting injured. 

Keep these tips in mind:

  • give your team time to build up fitness and focus on the long game
  • focus on physical conditioning and gradually increase training as you move back into sport
  • going too hard too soon will increase the risk of your players getting injured
  • the highest-performing teams have the lowest injury rates
  • think about rotating your players and options for shortened games.

Did you find this information helpful?

More info

Fit4Football website has information for football players wanting to prevent injuries and improve performance and wellbeing.


LeagueSmart website covers conditioning, warm up and other techniques to get the most out of the games.


NetballSmart is Netball New Zealand's injury prevention website.


RugbySmart is New Zealand Rugby's website with resources for all players, including warm ups, techniques and how to improve performance.


TouchFit360 website has resources to help players improve performance and avoid injury.