What is a RAMP warm up?



The Raise, Activate, Mobilise, Potentiate (RAMP) protocol was developed by Ian Jeffreys and is the most effective warm-up for athletes and is used by many elite coaches around the world.

Ian Jeffreys is an internationally renowned and award winning coach, educator and author. England Athletics promotes the use of RAMP warm-ups to prepare the body for athletic sports.


Warm-ups should be well planned and repeatable and integrated into all training sessions.


Most warm ups last 10-30 minutes. 

The time spent on a warm up depends on the distance of the planned run/training session, for example you will want to conserve energy if running a marathon, so a few minutes of light running and dynamic stretching will suffice. Conversely, for a shorter race, e.g. a 5k, you don’t want to be using the first part as your warm up, you want to be ready to go from the start. So the shorter the race, the faster the pace, therefore the longer the warm up.


What are the benefits of a good warm up?

A good warm up will prepare the body and mind for exercise or competition by increasing muscle temperature, increasing core temperature, increasing blood flow, disrupting connective tissue bonds.

This in turn provides the following positive effects;

  • Faster muscle contraction 
  • Improvements in rate of force and reaction time 
  • Improvements in muscle strength and power 
  • Improved blood flow to active muscles 
  • Improved oxygen delivery 

A good warm up will also help to improve the ABCs, Agility, Balance, Coordination as well as providing an opportunity for performing strength and conditioning exercises (depending on the aim of the warm up, main session or race) and improving flexibility.


So what does RAMP stand for?


Raise 

This phase aims to raise the following;


  • Core body and muscle temperature
  • Heart Rate
  • Respiration rate
  • Blood flow to the muscles
  • Joint fluid viscosity
  • Metabolic or chemical activity throughout the body
  • Kinetic chain involvement


(The combination and inter-relation of the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems, along with the connective tissues, is given the term the Kinetic Chain.)


This is achieved by using low intensity activities, for example, brisk walking, jogging, skipping.


Activate  

To activate the kinetic chain, nervous system and key muscle groups in preparation for movement or stabilisation.

Mobilise 

To mobilise key kinetic chains, joints and ranges of motion relevant to athletics, the event group and stage of athlete development.


In this phase of the warm up, movements should be active and dynamic and maintain and progress the raise phase. This focuses on movements which activate and mobilise the whole body kinetic chain and many muscle groups.

Examples; squats, lunges, hinging, bracing, rotating (strength and conditioning exercises) and dynamic stretching, (examples; opening the gate, hamstring scoops, karaoke, Frankenstein walks).


(Static stretches are not recommended for warm ups because they focus on single muscles allowing the opposing muscle to relax and allow the body to cool down therefore undoing the Raise phase. These are more appropriate for a cool down at the end of the main session).


Potentiate refers to activities that are high intensity dynamic exercises, specific to running, that will improve the effectiveness of subsequent performance. This increase in intensity will further prepare body and mind for the race or training session.


Examples are running drills, plyometrics (jumps, hops) and short sprints/strides.


RAMP provides a framework for a good warm up to be adapted to the type of sport or exercise, running session, type of race without causing fatigue. It has proven benefits as an effective workout, to improve movement skills, performance and prehab training.


References 


1 Components of fitness, Peter J L Thompson, 2018, UK Athletics

2 The Body in Sport, Peter JL Thompson, 2018, UK Athletics

3 Warm up revisited – the ‘ramp’ method of optimising performance preparation, Ian Jeffreys, 2007 (link below)