Avoid injury and get more from every workout by warming up correctly before you start. This guest post was contributed by Reda Elmardi of ShreddedPhysique.com.
Don’t Skip the Warm-Up
When it comes to weight training, strength training, calisthenics, cross-training, running, cycling, or any other form of physical exercise and activity for that matter, warming up is, without question, one of the most important things you will ever have to do. We all know how beneficial physical exercise is, and yet despite this, many of us are simply not doing enough. What makes matters worse is the fact that, when we do, we run the risk of seriously injuring ourselves due to failing to warm up, or simply warming up incorrectly.
As mentioned, any form of physical exercise is extremely beneficial, but when it comes to efficient forms of training, weight and resistance training is one of the most beneficial types of physical exercise that you can perform. When you’re down at the gym working out, before you begin your workouts, do you perform any stretches or simple exercises, or do you simply jump right into your workout?
Most people will simply begin their workout right away, and may simply warm up by using lighter weights, as being enough to warm up. This is not an effective way to warm up properly. If you look at other people entering the gym, they almost certainly will be the same and will fail to warm up correctly.
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When it comes to how to warm up properly, most people simply are not doing enough. In this article, we will take a look at how to warm up properly, the dangers associated with failing to warm up, plus a few simple and effective tips you ca use. So let’s get started by looking at how to warm up properly before weight training.
What You Need to Know
The idea behind warming up before weight training (or any other form of physical exercise), is that you increase your core body temperature. You also increase muscle elasticity, get your blood flowing, and get more oxygen in your muscle cells. You loosen up stiff muscles and joints to prepare them for the workout ahead.
There are a number of reasons why you should warm up before you work out, some of the main examples include:
#1. Injury Prevention
One of the biggest benefits is the fact that it helps prevent injuries. If you were to begin a workout without warming up, your muscles would be stiff and tense, and you would be more likely to pick up an injury.
Think about it: if you have a piece of string and pull it tight, it is much easier to snap than if it was all loose. The same principle applies to the muscle fibres in your body. If you begin training without warming them up, they are more likely to snap. Warming up with various exercises and stretches, improves muscle elasticity, making them less likely to become damaged.
#2. Improved Athletic Performance
Another huge benefit of warming up is the fact that it can actually improve athletic performance, so your workouts become more effective and beneficial as a result. As mentioned, stretching and warming up increases blood flow, which increases oxygen transportation to the cells and helps to increase vascularity. The more oxygen the cells have, the more energy they have. Warming up is almost the equivalent of fuelling up a car before a long journey, filling it full of fuel to help get it where it needs to be.
#3. Increased Core Body Temperature
This is another huge benefit of warming up because when you increase your core body temperature, your metabolism speeds up by default, enabling you to burn off more calories and to generate more energy as a result.
The colder your core body temperature, the less efficient your workouts will be and indeed, your body too for that matter.
Finally, warming up and stretching before a workout is extremely convenient as it only takes a few minutes. Generally, you can get into the gym and be warmed up in less than ten minutes, so there really is no excuse for failing to warm up before you train.
Tips on How to Warm Up Correctly
Now that we’ve taken a look at what warming up is, the dangers associated with failing to do so, and what the benefits are, we’ll now take a look at a few simple and effective ways on how to warm up correctly, and how making it fun and enjoyable in the process.
#1. Switch Things Around
With warming up, and indeed, with any other form of physical exercise for that matter, if you do the same things over and over again, they will become boring and stale, and the same thing applies to warming up.
Rather than doing the same stretches and exercises every single session, try to switch things around and do different things at different times. For example, you may wish to try foam rolling a few times per week, followed by some dynamic stretches, etc. As long as you switch things up and do different things at different times, the entire warm-up process will be more enjoyable and interesting.
#2. Try Jump Roping
Jump ropes, or, skipping ropes, depending on where in the world you live, are another very effective method of warming up and they are extremely simple to use. You don’t need to skip like a boxer in the movies, as long as you are jumping and exerting yourself, your muscles will loosen up, and your core body temperature will increase pretty dramatically. Just remember, you only need around five minutes, so don’t over exert yourself, and make sure to build up gradually and attempt to improve with each jump rope session.
#3. Use Your Favorite Music
When we exercise and workout, we listen to music to help get us in the zone and to help us to better focus on the movements and actions that we are going to be performing. Most people, however, won’t actually switch the stereo on, or put their headphones in their ears, until they begin their workouts.
You begin your workout the second you begin your first warm up exercise, so set your warm up to your favourite music and go from there. The reason for this is that setting your warm up to your favourite music is a great way of getting into the right frame of mind, as you will basically consider it as being part of your workout, which of course, it is.
#4. Foam Rolling
As mentioned previously, you may wish to implement foam rollers as part of your warm up routine, and for very good reason too. A foam roller is basically a long cylindrical tube made of durable, heavy foam that you place under various muscles and joints, and roll back and forth.
Foam rolling simulates a deep tissue massage and helps to break down muscle fascia and knots. Foam rolling is a great way of not only loosening up tense and stiff muscles, but also of reducing pain and inflammation as well. People that foam roll absolutely swear by it, and when it comes to how to warm up before weight training, foam rolling is most certainly the right method for you.
Warm Up Before Every Workout!
Warming up is an essential part of every workout session. Don’t be tempted to skip this vitally important part of your bodybuilding program. Warm up properly before every workout to ensure that you stay safe, fit and healthy.
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