By Tony Veney
The purpose of a good warm up is to prepare the prime movers, which are the feet for the activity to come. We use a barefoot warm up which incorporates one lap of walking and one lap of jogging. One of the reasons why we do this is be incorporating these very cushy shoes that have been used just by everybody just for the development of protecting the body by shock absorption, you take this shoe that provides so much support, rotation, and cushion and torsion suspension for the foot and then you toss it into a spike shoe like this, which has none of those things. So preparing the foot for the activity to come, namely dynamic exercises and drills really provides and really demands that we get the foot and the body ready.
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Now, that demand means that we take the foot from this to this. So therefore, in order to bring the body closer in line to what they are going to be doing during the activity, what we want to do is we want to take the foot out of the shoe, remove this quality, remove this cushion quality and warm them up with a quality of training that is going to be closer to the development of what they’re foot is going to do during the activity. One of the reasons why we want to use a barefoot warm up is as you see here, Tony, standing here and you can notice that the foot really doesn’t have the same articulation agreement that it’s going to have in a running shoe. We also notice that the foot is a double hinge. It hinges at the metatarsals and at the ankles. So by using a barefoot warm-up, we are going to ensure the integrity of the movement here and the movement at the toes, something that gets turned off while you are in a regular running shoe. So by getting them out there, onto the track to do a barefoot walk of one lap and a barefoot job of one lap, we get the foot accustomed to the types of force production and force realization that they are going to experience when they get into a spike shoe.
One of the things that we want to do is, as you can tell by the way they are walking, their feet are going to get the pressure, the pushing, the stretching and they are preparing the tendons and ligaments for the dynamics of the day to come. What we really want to be able to do is move all the prime movers in the feet. We have the toes, the metatarsals, the ankles. We want to be able to stretch out the Achilles, the soleus, move to the back of the hamstring tendons, get everything that is going to be prepared for that running for the way.
And as we all know, everything is connected. So once we get the feet loose then we can get the ankles loose, the Achilles loose, and the calf. We can also get the hamstrings, the glutes, the lower back. Anything that’s tight is going to be or is going to hamper the base production of force and power for the dynamics of the work out. After they have completed the first lap of walking barefoot, then we go into a jog lap and you are going to see the guys in the background. They are going to be executing different types of drills while they are doing a little jog. Now we have gone through a walk, preparing the tendons and ligaments, the Achilles tendon, the gastrock and soleus and the tendunous material behind the knee for activity, now we are going to ratchet things up a little bit and start to jog a little bit and do a little bit more of a dynamic approach to the jog.
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Tony Veney is one of the most respected individuals in track and field. He has over 35 years of track and field coaching and teaching experience, including stints on the staffs at the University of Oregon, Portland State, UCLA, and currently Ventura College. During his extensive career, he has coached numerous all-conference and All-American track and field athletes. Coach Veney has experienced success coaching youth, collegiate, and elite sprinters and hurdlers. A 1976 graduate of UCLA, he was the 800 meter record holder for the Bruins and was a member of two NCAA outdoor track and field championship teams. Veney is a USATF level I-II-III instructor, with a Master of Coaching Certificate. From 1987 to 2000, Coach Veney was a regional and national Sprint Development Coordinator for USATF.