The Importance Of Warming Up

20 Dec

Yesterday, I was reading this post by Tony Gentilcore on pre-workout warm-up steps. I have to admit, I’m pretty bad at warming up before runs, but when I’m in the gym lifting, I make sure to warm-up every single time.

The thought of lifting heavy weights and putting that load on my joints before warming up makes me cringe. And yes, I will try to warm up more before runs too 😉

warm up tips

Why You Should Warm-Up

Tony states:

Taking the time to warm up properly is crucial not only for optimal performance on the field, but also for continued progress in the gym—and it serves several functions:

  • Increases body temperature.
  • Improves joint lubrication.
  • Engages the nervous system to a larger degree.
  • Improves extensibility/flexibility of muscles.
  • Grooves movement patterns.
  • Better prepares you for a back-alley fight against a pack of zombies. You know, just in case.

Given that many of us spend an inordinate amount of time hunched over a desk in front of a computer on a daily basis, the warm-up should target the areas of the body that tend to be most problematic: the glutes, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders and core, to name a few.

How To Warm-Up

I used to just run on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes as a warm-up, but now I do that and make sure to get in some dynamic movements as well.

Tony suggests starting off with foam rolling because, “we tend to accumulate knots, adhesions and scar tissue in our muscles, which affect their extensibility, or ability to lengthen fully. If left unattended, these knots can become problematic and lead to muscle strains and other injuries.” Therefore, foam rolling before lifting helps release some of those knots, and get your muscles to fully lengthen.

Here are the exercises he suggests doing in your warm-up:

I usually change my warm-up depending on whether I’m training upper body or lower body that day. For a full-body workout day, I suggest you try out Tony’s warm-up.

Here’s how I warm-up for lower body days:

  • 2 min incline walk, then 5-10 min jog.
  • Slow body weight squats (10-15 reps)
  • Glute bridge (10 reps), then single leg glute bridge (5 on each leg).
  • This is all in one move: forward lunge, step back into reverse lunge, then feet together for a squat. Repeat 5x.

Upper body days:

  • Same treadmill warm-up.
  • 10 push-ups, then 10 knee push-ups
  • 10 Dive Bombers
  • 10 small arm circles, forward, then backward, 10 large arm circles, forward then backward.

But That’s Not All…

Do you think your car would perform optimally if you walked out on a 20-degree day, turned on the ignition, and then ramped it up to 60 mph on the highway without first letting it warm up?

Once you do the warm-up, you still continue the warm-up before doing your sets. For example, before setting up to do a bench press, I usually do lighter weight dumbbell presses to get my body ready. Tony discusses this in more detail in his article.

A good warm-up only takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to go through the exercises slowly, and it will help you lift heavier when you get to your main lifts.

Do you make sure to warm-up before every workout?

How do you warm-up?

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2 Responses to “The Importance Of Warming Up”

  1. Shanara Hibbert December 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    This is a great post as a lot of people I know do not realise how important warming up is! I always warm up and down as I know it’ll definitely hurt more in the morning if I don’t!

    My warm up depends on my work out that day, but I always start off with a run. If I am doing an upper body gym session I will do a treadmill run for 5 – 10 minutes, stretch and start off with some easy medicine ball exercises.

    Otherwise at the moment I will do a run, warm-up ‘circuit’ which includes press-ups, burpees, squats, squat thrusts and mountain climbers. Then I will do some dynamic stretching. That way I can also get some of my core exercises in regularly.

    I definitely do not use my foam roller enough though!

    – Shanara x

    • reach-yourpeak December 28, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      Sounsa like a great warmup! Sometimes warming up can be annoying when youre in a rush but it really is so important!

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