Warming up prepares the body for aerobic activity. Warming up gradually builds up the cardiovascular system by raising the body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles, it improves circulation in the joints that will be seeing a lot of work and help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury.
While warm ups such as running, mountain climbers and jumping jacks are not essentially bad in any way. They simply don’t cover the wide range of preparation that an activity like Capoeira needs. Capoeira requires the body to move in many different ways, and this is essentially what we want to prepare the body for.
We will be setting the time limit to 15 minutes so grab your self a mat and let's warm up.
Capoeira requires a lot of leg work as there are many kicks and squat-like movements. One of the first warm ups we want to focus on is: dynamics stretch for the legs.
The first kick is a kick up in the air with a straight leg. You should begin at a lower height to avoid injury make sure not to “throw” your limbs but rather lift them, controlling the movement along the entire range. Once you have reached nearly your full range of motion, you can increase the height of the kick and try to go as high as you can. You can hold onto a wall or chair if you feel like you need support. As you are kicking up make sure your back is straight and tuck in the pelvis and make sure that your head stays in place. Repeat this kick 30 times with each leg.
The second kick is a crescent kick, the leg will move from outside towards the inside making sure you do not compromise your posture, you can kick lower if you need support. Repeat this kick 30 times with each leg.
The last kick we are looking at is the reverse crescent kick. This time the kick begins on the inside moving upwards and the outwards, almost like circles. Make sure to kick as high as you can so that the quad muscles which control your ability to kick high are fired up. Repeat this kick 30 times with each leg.
We will finish up the legs with isometric contractions, this is when muscle length remains relatively constant as tension is produced minimising risk of injury.
Begin by in a sitting position, place you legs to form a 90 degree angle in front of you and a 90 degree angle behind you, this is known as the 90/90. The angle is going to allow you to rotate the hip capsule and start up the muscles that make that rotation happen.
Bring your chest down over you shin by bending at the hips. Relax in this position for a few seconds. Begin to push the shin into the ground while keeping the stretch position making sure you are keeping your core tight and slowly start pressing down harder into the floor once the position starts to feel comfortable.
The aim of this warm up is to start up the glutes while keeping the hip internally rotated. Try and keep this position for 20 seconds. After the isometric contraction, relax for 20 seconds while maintaining the stretch. Repeat the move a second time, push for 20 seconds against the floor while still in the stretch. After the isometric is complete, relax in the stretch for another 20 seconds. Bring the torso upright while maintaining the same leg position, if you are struggling with this movement you can prop yourself with a hand or even use a yoga block.
Once upright, lift up the heel of the back leg while keeping the knee in place, this movement focuses on internally rotating at the hip capsule. Pull the heel up for 30 repetitions and on the last repetition, hold the heel up for 30 seconds. The muscles on the hip may cramp, but don't despair as cramping is a muscular response as it learns new movement patterns. Repeat this on the other side.
Warming up the back is important in Capoeira. To begin, you will have your hands and knees on the ground with your back straight, this is known as the quadruped position. The first part of this movement involves you sucking your stomach in making sure your shoulders are pushed and let the head come down. Make sure to tuck the tailbone in. This movement allows all the segments in the spine to be flexed.
The next part of the move has you extending your back as much as you can, bring down your spine as if your chest is being pulled to the ground, the shoulders will come down and the shoulder blades will come together. While the hips will rotate out in the opposite direction. As you do this position you should feel the back muscles flex. Repeat this move 30 times.
As the spine is a very important part of the body that we want to make sure to protect as much as we can. Staying in the quadruped position, we’ll now work on the rotation of your spine.
Begin by taking one hand and slip it between your opposite hand and leg. Reach as far as you can by bringing you shoulder down to the ground.
Once you reach the furthest point your body can twist start pushing down onto the floor with the hand that is reaching. Almost like the 90/90 stretch. Hold the position for about 20 seconds and relax for another 20 second, Repeat this move 20 times on both sides.
The butterfly stretch is a seated hip opener that has great benefits and is effective in relieving tightness in your hips and enhances flexibility
To begin you need to sit on the floor with the soles of your feet pressing into each other. If you want to deepen the stretch move your feet closer in toward your hips. Root down into your legs and sitting bones, elongate and straighten your spine, tucking your chin in toward your chest. Hold this position for a minute and repeat 3 times.
Next we will focus on warming up your shoulders. As your shoulder can move in ways that no other joint can it becomes one of the most complex joints in the body
To begin you will have your hands and knees on the ground. For the first part of the stretch you want keep one hand firmly planted on the ground, while the other hand reaches different ranges of motion, hold each different ranges for 2 seconds. Repeat with the other hand. For the second part of the stretch you want to move the shoulders around in a circular motion. The direction in which you rotate isn't important but you can always rotate in both sides. Do about 20 rotation per direction.
The first movement will involve you gently rotating your wrists 15 times through their full range of circular motion, repeat this move by changing direction, then gently shake out the wrists for around 30 seconds. For the next wrist warm up you want to hold the fingers of one hand with the fingers of the other hand, move the wrist forward and back while resisting the movement with the opposing hand. Repeat for 1–2 minutes. The final warm up you need to kneel comfortably, and place the hands down on the floor with the fingers pointed forward. Then turn the palms up, then down with the fingers out, up with the fingers in, down with the fingers back, up with the fingers back, continue this movement of palms up and down with the fingers forward, back, in, and out for 1-2 minutes.
There you have it, this 15 minute warm up for Capoeira will help reduce the possibility of injuries to your body. You have worked your joints and muscles through the full amount they can stretch which will reduced the likelihood of muscle tears, rips and twists.
Furthermore, this warm up will also help your brain be more focused on your body and your Capoeira moves. This new found focus will carry over into your game which will help you improve your coordination, technique and skills.