Not everyone likes to warm up, but doing so has been known to increase your power output and decrease your chance of causing injury.
Warming up before your workout should be considered a part of your workout routine. I normally have a pre workout warm up and a post workout stretch/cool down. I include this as part of my workout routine and I just do it. No thoughts about it. I do have to admit, I have days when I’m at the gym and I’m working a specific area (let’s say biceps and triceps) and I don’t do a full body warm up, instead I will use light weights and do a few sets of high reps to warm up the muscles.
Depending on your workout, you should spend at least 5 – 10 minutes warming up, focusing the muscles you will be using in your workout.
A general warm up can consist of many various exercises, including but not limited to; jogging on the spot, arm circles, hip circles, slow high knees, low squats, butt kicks, jumping jacks and lateral jumps. If you’re doing a weight training workout for your arms, like biceps and triceps, you don’t really need to warm up your legs if you aren’t going to be doing any cardio, or lower body exercises. Knowing what type of workout you will be completing, will give you a good direction to your warm up.
The exercises which are included in this warm up are known as Dynamic Stretching. This type of stretching is considered a short burst of movement which propels the muscle into an extended range of motion which does not exceed a person’s stretching ability. Some of these moves can also be an actual exercise, such as the low squat, but in this type of warm up, you want to move quickly through the exercise and you don’t need to focus on muscle contraction as you would when you’re using this exercise with weights.
What should you not do before your workout?
This type of stretch is when you hold your stretch for a specific amount of time, anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and it causes your muscles to relax and release. Doing this before your workout has been known to cause your muscles to become to “relaxed” and while working them, (aka: tearing muscle fibers) too many fibres could tear, possibly resulting in injury.
I have come up with a full body warm up that you can do without any equipment.
I do this type of warm up when I workout at home. Normally my at home workouts consist of many various exercises which can target more than one muscle group, so it’s always a good idea to warm up your whole body for these types of workouts.
The Warm Up
Set your timer for nine rounds of 60 second intervals.
Complete the following exercises in the order below for each 60 second interval.
REACH, TOE TOUCH, FORWARD BEND
LOW SQUAT: From the standing position, bend your knees, pushing your hips back and lowering your butt to the ground. Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and quads as you raise back into the standing position.
KNEE TUCK: While standing, bend one knee, raising it towards your chest while briefly holding your knee into your chest. Release and repeat with opposite leg. Continue alternating legs.
ARM CIRCLES: From the standing position, extend your arms out by your side and create big circles in the air. Continue this motion for the entire 60 seconds.
HIP CIRCLES: From the standing position, place your hands on your hips, push your hips forward and then to the side, back and then forward again. Continue this circle motion for the entire 60 seconds.
HIGH KNEES: Very similar to running on the spot, only raising your knees as high as you can towards your chest, while jumping off each foot. Alternating legs after each jump. Continue this for the entire 60 seconds.
BUTT KICKS: From the standing position, slightly jump on one foot, bending your opposite knee behind you, raising your heel towards your butt. Release and repeat with opposite leg. Continue alternating legs for the entire 60 seconds.
JUMPING JACKS: Begin standing, jump into the air, while opening your legs and arms, landing softly in a wide stance with arms still in the air. Jump again, this time closing your legs and lowering your arms back down to your side. Continue this for the entire 60 seconds.
SIDE JUMPS: From the standing position, bend your right knee, immediately extend and jump towards the right side as far as you can. Then immediately bend your left knee, extend and jump as far as you can to the left. Continue this for the entire 60 seconds.
REACH, TOE TOUCH, FORWARD BEND: From the standing position, reach as far up into the air as you can, extending your arms over your head. Then, bend over, lowering your arms, reaching as far as you can towards your toes. Then immediately extend your arms all the way back up and bend over, lowering your upper body as far forwards as you can while keeping your arms extended behind you.
The next time you do a workout, try this warm up. It will only take you 9 minutes, time well spent if you ask me. 😉