It is common knowledge that a good warm up can boost your mood, boost your workout performance and prevent injury. But as good as warming up is for your, most people are doing it completely WRONG!
Warm-ups can vary depending on the type of workout that your about to do or which muscle groups that you are about to target. One thing is for sure, a proper warm-up ensures a great workout!
Warm ups help get blood flowing to certain muscle groups to help prime them for exercise. With this blood flow and movement it also helps to lubricate the joints, making them less stiff and more ready for heavy loads.
Sadly most people do it wrong and actually hurt their workout performance. Keep reading to find out what you’re doing wrong!
Not Warming Up In the First Place
Let me start off by saying that I used to be this person. When I was in the 8th grade, I started lifting weights as most kids that age do, and when I entered the gym I would always go straight into lifitng heavy.
While I didn’t get any serious injuries, it misaligned my joints and in the future when I started doing serious lifting I was hit with some serious joint pain. Being young, I recovered pretty quickly, but I took it as a warning sign and started incorporation proper warm ups, and as quickly as it came, the pain soon faded.
So take it from me, do your warm ups and make sure you do them right, it is extremely important in the long term. Now for those of you who do warm-ups you may be doing them wrong!
Static Stretching is NOT A Warm-up
Tell me if this sounds familiar, you enter the gym and get ready to lift or run on the treadmill, you sit down on the floor and do some stretching. Maybe you are hitting legs today? You sit down in a pike and down the stretch as much as you can and do other still let stretches until your legs are nice and loose.
You just messed the f*ck up!
Cold stretching especially before a workout is terrible! When you cold stretch like this you can pull a muscle which will definitely put you out for a bit! Not only this but stretching like this before a workout can actually hurt your performance!
How? Well let me tell you!
When you are stretching, think of a rubber band. When the band is stretched and elongated, it loses elasticity, it loses that “SNAP” back. The same thing happens when you hold static stretches before a workout. Your muscles become elongated and lose their explosivity.
Obviously this is not a permanent effect but static stretching should always be done AFTER a workout to relax tense muscles and improve blood flow/flexibility. Never stretch like this before.
Then How Should I Warm-Up?
Alright, so I told you everything wrong with your warm-ups, now let me tell you how to make it right. The key to a good warm-up is Dynamic stretching!
Dynamic stretching is mobility work that gets your heart rate going to make blood flow to your joints. While doing this you also work on moving your joints through their ranges of motion to prime them for load.
For example, if you are about to do heavy squatting or some sort of leg workout, your warm-up can look like this!
- 2 Mins Light to Moderate Jog, or Treadmill (For Blood Flow)
- Glute Bridges (to activate glutes)
- Walking Lunches (For Hips and Hip flexors)
- 15 Bodyweight squats (To work through squat range of motion)
- Side Twists (If you are squatting weight, you need to make sure your back is properly warmed up as well)
- 45 second plank (The Core is the most important aspect to any lift or exercise and it works very hard, so give it some love and warm it up)
So there is a basic warm-up routine right off the bat! You could also add things like hip extensions and squat holds for the hips. Obviously you can change the reps and sets to your liking, or if your not targeting your lower body, and instead want something for the upper body, you can use moves like shoulder rotations or bodyweight pushups!
You now know how to properly warm-up. I hope this article has helped you realize the error in your ways and maybe helped prevent an injury. You should have a basic idea of what a nice warm-up looks like and you should be able to create one of your own to suit your specific needs. I hope you have the best and brightest day!!