If you are one of those that skip the warm up, this is for you. If you are someone who makes sure to warm up before each session, this is also for you. A proper warm up is the ACTUAL KEY *insert key emoji here* to make sure that you get the most gains for your effort.A progressive and consistent warm up is essential to both preventing injury and enabling you to get the most out of your workouts. The answer is right there, but sadly, the golden nugget of information is ignored based on a lack of understanding, consideration, time, or simply put: effort. However, if you can put in the effort of running ___ minutes, lifting ____ weight, or shadow boxing for ____ time then you know effort. If you’re short on time and are tempted to skip a warm up, be prepared that time will really be an issue for you later.
Start slow and gain momentum in speed as you go. The warm up doesn’t need crazy or insanely quick movements. The whole point is to let the body ease into the work ahead with slow or static positions that can progress with some time as the body gets warm and difficulty / intensity increase. You will physically be slowly raising the body’s temperature which helps to decrease chances of getting injured.
Stretch + Movement
It’s good to incorporate static stretching within your warm up, but note that stretching alone is not enough. The goal is to prep the body to move, not to wind down or rest. Keep your specific goals in mind. If you are a tennis player, your warm up should be different than a boxer. Be mindful of the stretches your body needs in order to get ready to put it to the test. You’ll also want to incorporate stretches that are similar to movements you’ll be doing while you work out. It may seem like common sense, but it can be easy to switch it up (too much).
Dynamic Stretching / Mobility
We like facts: you’ll see bigger gains and progress with more mobile joints / body. It’s always a good idea to prepare the body for what it is about to go through. A stiff or weaker joint anywhere in the body really impacts the entire body. Talk about a domino effect, huh? Think about holding the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. While holding the stretch, focus on the mind-body connection of what it is that your body is accomplishing and feeling during this stretch. Each stretch should happen about 3 times (depending).
Get Nervous System Going
Similarly to dynamic stretching and mobility, you want to be getting the nervous system moving to help prepare for activity and create more efficiency during training. Typically, the nervous system can get going with incorporating exercises that require greater coordination and can be done in a progression. For example, warming up with 3 sets of squats and progressively adding more reps to that set will help the nervous system. However, getting into a squat and immediately adding a significant amount of weight after 1 warm up set doesn’t make sense.
Here’s the Deal:
Although often overlooked, warmup exercises CRUCIAL when it comes to getting the best workout in and keeping your body from injury. Warming up can help boost flexibility and athletic performance.
Don’t skimp out on yourself!