Whether you’re an athlete, bodybuilder, or just enjoy staying active, warming up is an essential practice that should be incorporated into every workout routine.
Diving straight into an intense exercise routine without preparing your body beforehand is never a good idea.
At one end of the spectrum, it’s pretty unpleasant. Steadily easing your way into a workout is much less strenuous than leaping up from your office desk into a 10K sprint.
At the other end, it’s downright dangerous.
Many serious injuries can come as a result of failing to warm up.
As Sports Medicine Information puts it, ‘keeping the muscles warm will prevent acute injuries such as hamstring strains and will stave off overuse injuries by allowing the body to prepare steadily and safely.
Forming a Plan of Action
Every warm-up routine will be different. It all depends on your fitness level and what kind of workout you’re preparing to perform.
Below are some well-rounded ways to get your blood pumping before breaking a sweat.
Bodybuilders often prepare to lift heavy barbells by first performing a couple of sets of the same workout, but with a much lighter weight.
Low-weight sets are a great way to increase blood flow to the areas of your body that you plan to workout.
This practice can be used to prepare for a range of different workouts, like sprinting and cycling.
Before your workout, simply take up a couple of light-medium weights and warm up the muscle groups you plan to exercise.
You can use them to squat, bicep curl, shoulder press - whatever movements are best suited to the workout ahead of you.
Yoga is not only an excellent form of exercise in itself, but it’s also a very effective and relaxing way to warm up.
Runner’s lunges, warrior pose and downward-facing dog are all yogic positions that double up as perfect pre-workout poses to get your blood pumping.
After an intense workout, yoga can also work as a great warming-down practice, relaxing your mind and easing you gently back into your day.
It sounds trivial, but walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise on the planet.
It’s peaceful, enjoyable, and is a great way to prepare your body for a workout.
Incline walking before a session of exercise will allow your heart rate to increase steadily, getting your blood flowing and putting you in the right frame of mind for working out.
Body-weight exercises are, you guessed it, exercises that make use of your body’s own weight rather than relying on heavy dumbbells.
The great thing about body-weight exercises is that they can be performed literally anywhere; you don’t need a gym membership to pump out ten press ups and a few lunges.
Not only that, but your body isn’t being pushed to any extreme limits like it may otherwise be during a weightlifting session. For that reason, they make for great warm-up exercises.
Before a workout, executing a well-rounded selection of body-weight exercises will allow you to increase blood flow to several muscle groups.
Here’s an example of a body-weight exercise routine you could perform before working out:
- 10 press-ups
- 20 jumping jacks
- 15 squats
- 10 lunges on each side
- 6 pull-ups