Hopefully by now, you know to begin your work out with a proper warm up. However since it seems everyone is short on time, and barely gets the “workout” part in, it’s probably the thing that is almost always pushed aside or done half assed.
*Side note, please don’t stand around the gym, pulling your foot back into a quad stretch. Or the “across the body arm stretch”. That is not a good warm up…you just look like an ass.
The warm up may be more important than the actual workout. Especially if you are over a certain age! As we get older, recovery from an injury takes waaaay longer than when we were younger. And if moving your body for an extra 5 minutes at the beginning of your workout can prevent months at a PT office, a pull/torn/slipped/whatever …then why the f would you skip it?
I know, you’re short on time. 5 minutes. Fit it in. You can do it.
Muscles need to be warmed up to improve their elasticity and ability to contract. Also, warming up brings blood flow to the muscle, allowing them to work at their full potential.
Besides injury prevention, warm ups also help prepare the mind for what’s coming. I don’t know about you, but I am a planner. I need to know what’s coming up. Especially during a work out. I need to know how much energy to expend at the beginning…and what’s following it, so I can save some gas in the tank. Plus, there’s this thing called the mind-body connection. Get your mind ready so it can send the message to your body that it’s time to work.
Another reason to not skip the warm up, your heart, which is responsible for pumping fresh oxygenated blood. When first starting your workout, your heart rate is relatively low, so ease into the movements, allowing the heart rate to increase steadily. Important for those with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular issues.
Now that we’ve established that you are no longer going to skip the warm up, let’s talk about what it should look like.
It’s all about being dynamic. Moving. Creating energy. Save the static (held) stretches for after the workout. Arm circles. Leg swings. Inchworms. Start there. Then get down on the ground and begin some cat cows, plank hold, bridges, cobra. Warm up the core so it can be ready to work.
Plan on doing some weighted squats that day? Then perform some body weight squats as part of the warm up.
Is it a heavy shoulder day? Then grab some lighter weight and perform some shoulder presses.
Get where I’m going with this? Your warm up should mimic your workout, but at a slower pace, lighter weight, less intensity. Prepare your body for the movement that it’s about to do.
Still unsure of what your warm up should look like? Check out my free infographic: