Don’t forget to warm-up, or you will get injured and die.
Ok…not really. But, the reality is, 5-7 minutes of general cardio, dynamic stretching, and/or weighted warm-up lifts will improve your strength greatly.
What did I just say? By expending a little bit of energy at the beginning of my workout to get my muscles warm and my joints lubricated I will increase my strength? That’s right!
However, Houston, we have a problem.
Most people don’t warm-up because they’re afraid they’ll waste their energy too soon and that they need to “save it” for their full strength lifts. Well, here’s a wake up call. If you’re not warming up, you’re not performing your full strength lift.
Think of it this way…if your God awful alarm clock woke you up at the crack of dawn and instructed you to do heavy squats, what would your max weight be? Eh, probably not your best. Your muscles would feel tight, your legs heavy, and your head most likely would not be in the game. AKA: it would not be Troy Bolton approved.
That’s how training plays out when you skip your warm-up:
When you take a few minutes to do some warm-up sets and mobility exercises…
You’ll have a greater range of motion and your nerve transmission will be off the charts, which means more of your muscle fiber has activated nerves. More nerves, more activation, more power, more #bootygainz.
Not to mention, getting your body into the groove of things will get your mind in the groove, too. Taking a few deep breaths in between each warm-up set prepares your mind to push through the discomfort that is about to come so you can push your body even further.
And…injury prevention is nice, too, right? It takes significantly more force and muscle lengthening to injure a muscle that has gone through a proper warm-up because muscles are more pliable and strong. We all want to have healthy muscles and joints so we can stay active for the long haul, and injury prevention is key to keeping you kicking.
“So, what is a proper warm-up?” You ask as you get up from your desk chair eager to stretch and touch those toes. Well, it varies depending on the activity you’re about to do.
Regardless, always try to do a few minutes of steady state cardio to get the blood pumping…pump up the jam if you really need to. I like to jump rope because it activates muscles from each muscle group, however, if your coordination is subpar like mine, jumping rope may be a pipe dream and it may be easier to stick with the treadmill.
Afterwards, if you’re headed towards a cardio based workout: do a few slower intervals (i.e. run @ 5 mph for 30 sec., walk 30 sec.) and work your way up to your working pace.
If you’re headed towards an anaerobic lifting workout: perform a few mobility exercises to open up the hips/shoulders/back, and do a few lighter sets (i.e. back squats with the bar, 75#, 95#, etc.) until you get to your working weight.
One way to tell if you’re good to go and move on to your intended workout is if you’ve broken a sweat. This is a sure way to know that you’re warm enough and your body is ready for what’s next. A little bit of sweat goes a long way in keeping you healthy.
A wise man once said, “we all want to get right into action, but your warm-up can mean the difference between playing the game and having game.”
Yes, warm-up exercises may be extremely boring and mobility work may be far from sexy, but warming up will help you unleash your full potential. It will help you perform your full strength lifts. It will help you run longer and faster. But most importantly, it will help you stay healthy so you can stay active.
So go ahead! Throw on some tunes and start by doing some jumping jacks, because, well, warm-ups are really mostly for the cool kids.
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