Aug 25, 20215 Tips to Warm Up Effectively Before Workouts
To stay safe and get the most out of your workout you must always include a pre-workout warm up before you begin and then finish with a cool down to get your body back into gear.
During a workout, we can all go from zero to hero and push hard but the safe way to train is to bring the body’s temperature up slowly and loosen up the muscles before we get to do anything serious. That’s what a warm up is designed to do.
Stretching, on the other hand, is done in order to improve overall flexibility. Once muscles have worked they are at their most compliant state and they let us stretch further than we normally would gaining more ground while we are at it.
Below is an excerpt from the U.S. News & World Health Report on tips for warming up effectively before a workout.
- Keep It Short & LightFunctional warmups should be 10 to 15 minutes in duration and completed no more than 10 minutes before starting your activity or exercise. Start with slower activities and progress to higher-level, faster-paced and explosive movements as appropriate.
If you’re going running, start by walking and gradually increase the pace to warm up your legs and slowly elevate your heart rate. If you’re playing basketball with some friends, run some light dribbling drills to get your blood moving before the game.
- Dynamic StretchingDynamic stretching – or movement-based stretching – before the workout is the way to go. Static stretching is what many people think of as the primary way to stretch. Things like bending over to touch your toes and holding that position for 30 seconds. This form of stretching has its place and can increase flexibility when done correctly.
It’s best to save the static stretching for after the workout when your muscles are warm and begin with dynamic stretches.
- Make It Exercise-SpecificThe reasoning behind this approach to warming up is that doing the actual movement gets your joints warmed up and blood into your muscles. When doing this you’re already making your muscle and tissue pliable” with the specific movements you’ll be doing in the main part of the workout.
If you’re preparing for a weightlifting workout, on the other hand, it’s most important to practice your movements with no weights or light weights to test drive how your joints are working that day and practice your range of motion. In other words, you don’t want to learn you have a kink in your knee or your stance is unsteady when you have 100 pounds on your back.
- Move in Three DimensionsDon’t just perform exercises straight in front of you. Also move backward, laterally, and incorporate rotational movement patterns as applicable.
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Some examples of three-dimensional exercises include lunges, side lunges, moving hamstring stretches, shin grabs, high knees, butt-kickers, and side shuffles.
- Prepare Your MindIf nothing else, warming up mentally is good for your future workout physically. Plenty of sport psychology research demonstrates that visualizing how you’ll succeed on the court or field can dramatically improve performance.
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