Do you warm up before your workout?
It’s important. You know it is and so do I.
Fitness professionals constantly remind you, “Get a good warm-up before you start your workout.” Dang, I’m probably guilty of this myself…
But what does that really mean? And why is it so important?
First, the type of warm-up you do matters. It should be dynamic — movement oriented and designed to increase mobility, agility, and overall performance during the upcoming workout.
Sport-specific workouts are designed to get an athlete’s body and mind in tune so they’re at peak performance come game time. Your everyday warm-up should do the same — prepare you to perform at your peak, like the athlete you are, when it’s time for that first rep.
Here are the top 6 reasons you should warm up before your workout:
- Warm the muscles – increasing the temperature of your muscles prepares them for the demands of your workout. A warm muscle can contract more forcefully and relax more quickly, enhancing both speed and strength.
- Stimulate the nervous system – our bodies are designed for neuromuscular patterning. The warm-up connects the body and mind making movements more coordinated, engaged, and agile so when it’s show time your body easily and athletically performs the pattern you ask of it.
- Awaken your brain – the warm-up allows you to clear your mind so you can concentrate on your physical body’s sensations, get mentally prepared and focus on full muscle engagement and alignment for an effective training session.
- Improved Range of Motion – joint mobility is a key aspect to proper execution of most exercises. You can avoid painful joint impingements and prevent form compensations that lead to injury by effectively warming and mobilizing joints prior to adding load.
- Prevent injury – reasons 1 -4 all lead to the prevention of injuries; additionally, increased body temperature improves muscle elasticity, which reduces the risk of strains and sprains during exercise.
- Performance – the warm-up is a transition from normal to more athletic activity. By waking up all the little (and sometimes big) muscles that are neglected while sedentary they are stimulated to work in unison under the load of bodyweight, gravity, and momentum. Once again, when it’s time to perform you will be firing on all cylinders.
The warm-up doesn’t have to take a lot of time but it does need to be focused, executed well, and dynamic.
Follow this simple dynamic warm-up series to progressively build heat, engage muscles, and awaken your body to perform more intense movement patterns.
Complete 5-10 reps for each exercise:
- High Knee Drives
- High Knee Holds
- Butt Kicks
- Butt Kick Holds
- High Knee to Leg Extension
- High Knee to Leg Extension & Toe Reach
- Over the Fence
- Over the Fence to Extension
- 10 Squats
- 10 Lunges
- 10 Alternating Bird Dogs
- 10 Alternating Toe Touches
- 10 Small arm circles forward and backward — focus on stabilizing shoulder blades
- 10 Big, slow arm circles forward and backward — focus on mobilizing shoulder blades
- 10 Overhead press & lat pull motions
- 10-second High Plank Hold into 10 Slow Mountain Climbers, 10 Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
- 3 Plank to Down Dog Presses