Warming up is one of the most neglected parts of your workouts and shouldn’t be skipped. The reason for that is because you want to be able to prep your body for moving. Think of it this way, during cold winters in Minnesota we often will go out and warm up our vehicle because it feels better going into a warm car.
My question to you is why wouldn’t this be the same for your body and the workouts you will put it through?
Let’s begin by talking about what isn’t a warm up:
- Walking on a treadmill
- Doing random stretches
- Doing lighter weights of the exercises you’ll be doing
Why these are not effective ways of warming up:
Walking on a treadmill
Walking is great in general, but if you’re going to be doing any form of strength training you need more than just walking. The reason for that is because walking doesn’t relate to movements in your workout such as squatting or doing a push up. The joints are properly prepared for the activity you are going to be participating in.
Doing some random stretches
Doing some arm circles and hamstring stretches is not enough to prepare your body for strength training activities. Stretching is good and important to do, but it’s not the best choice to do right before using weights. The reason that this isn’t as beneficial for you is because it’s just stretching the muscle not warming it up and preparing it for impactful movements.
Using lighter weights before heavier ones
Walking into the gym and doing squats on an empty bar is not a warm up before your workout. Just because you do lighter weights of an exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a warm up. The reason that this isn’t the best choice is because the body is not properly ready for the full workout you will be doing.
Here is a better way of warming up
1. Foam rolling
Begin with foam rolling because this will help you with loosening up some of the tight areas in your body such as your upper back, calves, glutes, hamstrings, and anywhere else you find yourself being tight. This is not a permanent fix, but it does allow for an acute change in the muscle to get some relief.
Next is stretching after foam rolling because now some of the tightness is loosened up. Foam rolling will help you with getting further into your stretches because it’s not as restricted. It’s good to lengthen the muscles in order to help with moving better.
After we stretched the muscles out now that they’re not as tight we can begin with some mobility exercises. Mobility should be based around moving your joints and muscles to help your body move more freely. Getting your joints and muscles mobile prior to your workout will help with moving better and having further range of motion as you move.
The last part of your warm up should include some type of activation exercises for your core and other movements similar to your workout. Now when I say core exercises I don’t mean sit ups, Russian twists, lateral bends, and any other weird “core” exercise you can think of. What I mean is doing exercises such as dead bugs, bird dogs, planks, and carries. The reason we want to start with some core exercises is because your core is what keeps you stable and strong during your movements.
You can also incorporate lighter movements into this part such as mini band squats, banded pull aparts, glute bridges, and other easier exercises to prepare the body for a workout.
In summary your warm ups shouldn’t be longer than 5-10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or intense, but it should feel like you are ready for movement.
If you’re wanting to learn more about proper warm ups and how else to get more out of your workouts, email us today to schedule a consultation.