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Many of us have a busy schedule and when we do find some time for working out it’s tempting to jump right into your workout to maximize the time you’ve got. But when you skip a warm-up and just go from 0 to 60, you’re setting your body up to be less efficient—and potentially end up with an injury.
In order to prepare your body for a workout and prevent injury, it’s necessary to warm up. So, what are the good warm-up exercises before a workout?
Necessity Of Warm-Up
Warming up before exercise prepares your heart, lungs, brain, muscles and mind for what’s to come. According to the American College of Sports Medicine “A warm-up is necessary to prepare the body for exercise by increasing heart rate and blood flow to working muscles.”
Furthermore, if you skip warming up, and during a workout stretch a muscle too far, it will become strained or torn. So, the best way to prevent an injury during a workout, be sure to do a proper warm-up. And the truth is, you don’t need more than five minutes to get a good warm-up. You just have to stop looking at it as taking away from your workout, but rather, recognize that it’s helping you better maximize the minimal time you’ve got.
A good warm-up should be specific to the range of motion you need for that particular workout. If you are about to do an upper-body lifting session, you may want to spend more time on priming your shoulders and thoracic spine (upper back) and activating your core and glutes. In contrast, if you are about to have a leg day, you may want to prime your hips and ankles and activate the glutes as well.
In general, though, you want to include some light-to-moderate cardio to gradually increase the heart rate and some dynamic (active) stretches for joint mobility.
Five Minute Warm-Up – Exercises
Start your warm-up with two minutes of cardio bodyweight exercises.
Do each of these exercises for 15 sec.
- air jump roping
- jumping jacks
- butt kickers
- high knees
Repeat that circuit one more time. OK, that’s two minutes.
Now, three minutes of active stretches for a functional range of motion:
- alternating back lunges (3 on each side)
- back lunges with a twist: hands on the floor, opposite arm (opposite to the leg bent at the knee) stays on the floor, the other arm reaches out and open (3 times each side)
- squats (3 reps)
- sumo squat position with dipping shoulders side to side (3 reps each shoulder)
- cross-body toe touches – opposite hand to the opposite foot (3 reps each arm)
- hip circles – lunge position, one leg forward, bring your back knee forward and make three circles 3 in one direction, then 3 in the opposite direction. Now switch legs and repeat.
- Swinging the arms open and closed
- arms circles – hold your arms outstretched to the side and make small circles, gradually making circles bigger. Then repeat on the other direction
This video by Nicole Pearce will show you exactly how to do it.
Remember that your goal is to elevate your heart rate, put your muscles and joints through their range of motion to warm them up and make sure everything is functioning properly, and preparing your body to strength train!
Never Skip Warming Up Before Workout
The key components of a warm-up are increasing the body’s core temperature, mobility, muscle activation, and technical build-up. By increasing the body’s temperature, you loosen the tissues around your joints, increasing their range of motion. Better flexibility does two things: allows your body to move better through the motions of your workout and helps to protect you from injury.
Warm-up will help reduce the risk of injury and help the body utilize the correct muscles for certain movements and prepare them for a workout.
Make it exercise-specific
A good warm-up should be specific for that particular workout.
If you’re gearing up for cardio, aim to increase your breathing and heart rate slowly to prevent fatiguing too early in the exercise itself.
If you’re preparing for a weightlifting workout, on the other hand, it’s most important to practice your movements with no weights or light weights to test drive how your joints are working that day and practice your range of motion. In other words, you don’t want to learn you have a kink in your knee or your stance is unsteady when you have 100 pounds on your back.
Agility workouts, meanwhile, lend themselves to warm-ups like speed drills in order to activate your neuromuscular system and test out your quickness that day.
Thank you for reading this article. If you have any question, or want to leave a comment – impression, suggestion, your thoughts, experience… please do so in the comment section below, and I’ll be happy to help you out.