So you have just performed an awesome workout, you have given 100% and the only thing you are thinking about is necking your protein shake so the nutrients can start rebuilding your muscles. Are you however missing something at the end of your workout which is going to progress you further? How many of you at the end of your workouts when you are dripping with sweat decide to stretch your muscles which you have worked? It is best to do it at this point in your session when you are still warm from the workout itself. Why? Because when you are warm your muscles will stretch further and there is far less risk of straining or pulling a muscle. What about the start of your workout, should you be doing something then? Let's take a look...
It is important to warm up before you begin any form of exercise because it is a sign of telling your body what you are about to do. Warming up doesn't just involve walking on a treadmill or using a cross trainer for 5 minutes and then hopping straight into your workout. There are a few factors to consider when warming up and here are some of the basics....
Being mobile through exercise means you are more agile to do things without getting injured. Replicate body weight mobility exercises of what you are about to perform with heavier weights so that the muscles are warmed up correctly. If you are going to work your legs there is no point warming up with a bench press. So instead of jumping straight into barbell squats a better choice is air squats/body weight ones.
Warming up is a sound way to address your body for exercise and you have less chance of injuring yourself because of this. By telling yourself you are warming up it makes you aware and puts you in the right mindset to put in some serious work. Remember what you put into a session is what you will get out, give 100%, get out 100%!
Don't forget that when you warm up you are not just warming up your muscles but all the connective tissue, ligaments and tendons which supports your structure. Muscles take minutes to warm up whereas the joints can take a little while longer. Be smart and use this time wisely.
An Optimal Warm Up
Be sure to give yourself at least 5-10 minutes to warm yourself up properly so that you are ready for what you are about to put yourself through. An effective warm up will look something like this..
- Active body weight exercise of what you are about to perform for 2-3 minutes
- Some light cardio for 5 minutes to warm the body
- A few dynamic stretches of the muscles you are about to work
- Possibly using the foam roller to promote more oxygen/blood flow to the area
Warm up correctly so that you give yourself every possible chance of having a great workout. Remain injury free so that you can continue to workout day in day out over the course of weeks and months. Don't forget to stretch at the end of your workouts too.