Tai Chi Warm Up Exercises: How To Do Them Correctly

Tai Chi warm up exercises are important, the movements must be performed at the beginning of class. Article explains reasons for doing warm-ups and gives tips to follow to prevent injury.

A tai chi class at the Golden Lion Academy includes a variety of stretching and conditioning exercises, movements that are performed at the beginning and conclusion of each class.

Warm Up exercises are performed at the beginning of the class and Cool Down exercises are done at the conclusion of the class, before the class officially ends. In this article, we'll look at the Warm Up section of a class or training session.

Warming up the body, that is, raising the core body temperature, is an important part of your training. We recommend that you take time to do some specific warm up exercises before you start your tai chi practice.

Here are some reasons why warming up is necessary:

  • It raises the heart rate, increasing circulation and raising body temperature
  • It prepares and lubricates joints
  • it improves flexibility, elasticity and contractibility of muscles and increases the range of movement of joints
  • It increases respiration and elevates the level of oxygen in the blood
  • It heightens awareness and raises the level of concentration and focus
  • It promotes the co-ordination of the upper and lower body
  • It enhances balance and muscle control
  • It reduces the risk of injury

At the Golden Lion Academy, warm-ups are composed primarily of a combination of dynamic stretches and balancing exercises that are performed safely and easily by almost everyone at any age.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretches are performed by moving muscles and joints gently through a controlled and gradually increasing range of motion. There are no ‘bounces’ or jerky movements.

It has been well documented and accepted by specialists in sports medicine that dynamic stretching is preferable to static stretching prior to commencing sporting activities.

The dynamic stretches conducted prior to commencing practice are also a wonderful way to improve overall fitness and may assist with the ease of performancing activities necessary for everyday living.

We have found at the Golden Lion Academy that this specialised training method has been very beneficial to all participants, with excellent results obtained in the ability to perform tai chi at a higher level. So here are important guidelines that are used by our instructors.

Warm Up Tips for Training

  • ALWAYS - speak to the instructor (teacher) prior to commencing class if you have any concerns regarding health or personal issues that may affect your level of or ability to participate in class.
  • Always move smoothly, taking care not to ‘bounce’ or use jerky movements, which may cause injury.
  • Breathe rhythmically throughout warm-ups - ensure your don’t hold your breath.
  • Move slowly, increasing exercises gradually, taking care not to hyperextend joints or muscles.
  • STOP IMMEDIATELY - If you feel pain or discomfort. Some exercises may have to be modified or omitted altogether to suit your condition.
  • STOP - REST - then EXERCISE agian - if your find you are experiencing fatigue.

A word of Caution

Without correct warm-ups, limits of motion caused by poorly prepared muscles may pose a risk of injury when performing any activity or sport.

Over active warm-ups can produce muscle fatigue, once again causing a risk of injury.

Static or passive stretches are not included in the warm-up exercises but reserved for the ‘cool down’ session at the conclusion of class. Scientific evidence has shown that static and/or passive stretches weaken muscles prior to activity by ‘anaesthetising’ muscle receptors, hindering performance. Muscle receptors may also not be as responsive to pain (our personal protective warning system) following static/passive stretching and an injury may occur if this type of stretching is followed by a physically demanding activity. So keep in mind that static/passive stretching is valuable after tai chi, as part of the cool-down process.

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© Copyright Charles Tsui-Po 1971-2014. All Rights Reserved.
Golden Lion Tai Chi Dao Yin Chi Kung - Phone: 9796 1066
BERWICK: 29 Intrepid Street, Berwick 3806.
ROWVILLE: 2 Laser Drive, Rowville 3178.
MURRUMBEENA: 98 Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena 3163.
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