How to Warm Up

We exercise to lose weight, build muscle, and feel better about ourselves, right?
We know that immediately lying down on a bench, and start our workout with heavy weight right away is wrong. That is how you end up hurting yourself and missing weeks/months due to ignorance/apathy.
Warming up makes sure you don’t injure yourself while training. In addition to to that, warming up forces you to do the exercises correctly and having a good plan to follow.

Unfortunately, just doing static stretching before a workout can overextend those muscles and actually rob them of the power and strength necessary for your actual workout. Dynamic warm-ups gets your muscles loose, active, warm, and ready for action, you will keep yourself strong and injury free. Dynamic warm up can also help activate your central nervous system, priming your muscles for body for a great workout that produces your best effort. On top of that “improved blood circulation” to the list of benefits of warming up, which will help you perform well in each exercise.
Need another reason?  When your body is properly warmed up, your muscles and joints are ready for maximum flexibility, which means you can perform each exercise with PROPER form (like deep squats, for example) that maximize results and minimize risk of injury. Whether you are running or strength training, a proper warm up is probably the most important 5-10 minutes of your day. 

Now according to your level of fitness, you can adjust the exercises in this warm up so you can complete it, and go from there.

• 2-3 minutes of jump rope (who cares if you mess up, push yourself!)
• 50 jumping jacks (pull your shoulder blades back, extend arms and really focus on the movement)
• 20 body weight squats
• arm swings (holding your arms straight out to the side, and then swing them and cross them in front of your chest)
• shoulder rotations (holding your arms straight out to the side, and move your arms in a circular motion, making bigger
• 5 lunges (each leg)
• 10 hip extensions
• 5 hip rotations each leg (like you’re stepping over a fence)
• 10 forward leg swings (each leg)
• 10 side leg swings (each leg)
• 10-20 push ups (scale based on your level of fitness)

Yes, there is a lot of work put on your hips, butt, legs, and core. These tend to be the muscles that are the tightest and least active, and thus most susceptible to an injury.

If you are a beginner and think of the above as hard to complete, then in the meantime, do the best you can.  Let’s say:
• jump rope for 30 seconds,
• 20 jumping jacks
• 10 squats
• 5 lunges
• 5 elevated push ups or 5 wall push ups
• Follow the rest of the routine as planned if possible.

When it comes time for your workout, and if you are doing heavy strength training (with barbells or dumbbells), make sure you do some warm up sets before jumping into the weight you’ll be training with for each exercise.  Always start with a set using just an empty bar to work on your form and get your body used to the movement, then, do a few sets of just a few reps with increasing weight (which won’t tire you out) and then start your workout.

In this routine, your warm-up will act as part of your workout, as you’ll be doing the same functional movements.  Do the best you can, keep track of your results for your warm up too, and improvement you achieve with each workout.  With enough consistency and persistence, you’ll be busting out the full warm-up routine before your effective and efficient actual workout!

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