By: Dominic Ballard
Many people know that they should warm up before a workout. However, it can be very tempting to skip your warm and to begin training. Skipping your warm up or having a warm up routine that is not properly set up has been shown to lead to a decline in performance or even injury.
The current state of our society has led to the human race to live sedentary lifestyles. Most of us are sitting at a desk all day with very little activity. This leads to contraction in our muscles. When we begin an activity this muscles get elongated and when done to quickly that can lead to injury. Therefor, the body needs a wake up call before any physical activity.
Simply put, a warm up literally warms the body up for physical activity.
A properly set up warm up increases the body temperature, increases range of motion, quicker muscle contraction and relaxation, mental preparation and prevents or reduces the chance of injury.
To begin a workout session, it is important to first increase your body temperature by some sort of light cardio. That can be walking, jogging, jumping jacks or riding a bike. Increasing your body temperature not only will help to circulate the blood within your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles.
Once you raise your body temperature, you’ll then need to relieve any tight muscles.
When we work out consistently the muscles become tight due to the amount of muscle break down. Those tight muscles need to be relaxed for you to have the proper joint range of motion. You can do this by foam rolling. You use the foam roller to find any painful knots which is also known as “trigger points”. You’ll place it in the knotted area and sit or roll over the tender area.
After you foam roll your warm up should then be followed up by a series of dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching are considered to be active movements. It’s where you go through a series of movements that loosen the joints and muscles more through a full range of motion. Whichever muscles that are being worked for the day you should put a focus on increasing the range of motion in those muscle areas. For example, if one is barbell squatting, one should go through a series of body weight squat patterns and lunges to warm up the quads. Hinging movements to warm up the hamstrings and glutes. If you’re working the upper body you should put a focus on increasing the range of motion in the shoulder joint.
Once the body is warm you can then begin your workout.
A standardized workout would begin with a primary movement. We call this your big lift. It could be a bench press, overhead press, squat or deadlift. With these lifts, injury is extremely apparent. With that understanding, one should avoid just jumping right into their heaviest weight. It is recommended to do 1-3 warm up sets before beginning your working sets. You can do this by what we call “progressive pyramid” and that is each warm up set you increase your weight while also decreasing your reps until you get to your working weight.
In conclusion, warming up extremely important to having a great workout and injury prevention. It is evident that you should not overlook warming up no matter what level in fitness you’re at. Once you’ve done a bit of cardio, foam rolled, performed your dynamic stretches and also warmed up your primary exercise for the day you should be ready to have an effective workout! Try it out and let us know how it goes