We previously discussed neuromuscular warm-ups here. The Finnish Defense Forces released a study (Parkkari et al 2011) evaluating the benefits of a neuromuscular warm up on the rate and severity of injury among soldiers.

Two cohorts of four companies were followed over 6 months. The control group which received standard military training had 467 conscripts while the intervention group with the warm up had 501 conscripts. A baseline of fitness data was collected including 12 min cooper run, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, long jumps, body fat % and other data.

During the first 8 weeks, the men received 1 weekly 30-45min instructional class about performing the exercises and were lead through the 9 exercise routine. Following the end of that 8 week instruction program, the two cohorts were followed for 6 months to determine if the neuromuscular warm up had any effect. After 6 months the data was tabulated. The intervention companies had an HR = 0.34 lower than their control counterparts. Across all levels of fitness and age groups, the neuromuscular warm up appears to have had a major impact. Upper injuries were 0.37 less. Even time lost due to injuries was lower, HR=0.55.

In this case, neuromuscular warm-ups played a significant and measurable role in injury prevention. This 30-45min routine should be applied widely throughout the Finnish Defense Forces and then other military forces should investigate similar routines to determine if their soldiers would benefit from it.