Many of us like to go into the gym and get to work without warming up. To tell you the truth, I just recently started warming up for my strength training, and the results have been worth the 5-10 minutes it takes. Think of it as mentally and physically warming your body for what it is about to do.
There are several benefits to warming up the body before any type of workout:
• Increased circulation throughout the body by pumping oxygen to the muscles
• Reduced risk of injury and soreness
• Warming up the mind— we often accomplish what we think we can accomplish
• Increased muscle recovery during and after your workout
• Produces hormones that make more carb and fatty acids available
• Blood pressure remains stable throughout your workout because oxygen delivery is increased and you do not get exerted as quickly
Cardio Workout warm-ups should be done by warming up with the exercise you are about to engage in, but at a slower pace. For example:
Running: 5-minute speed walk, then move to a 5-minute light jog
Elliptical: 5 minute, low grade, light resistance, and then gradually increase both
Biking: 5-minute ride in low gears with high pedal cadence
Stepper: 5-minute walk on treadmill with a bit of an incline, then march in place for 2 minutes
Aerobics: 5 minutes of one or a mix of the following: toe taps on bench while moving arms above head, skipping, lunges
Plyometrics: 25 jumping jacks and jump rope for 5 minutes
>>Finish your cardio warm-up by stretching the muscles being used during performance!
Strength training warm-up should be done by doing some light cardio and/or doing light weight repetitions using the muscles being worked. For example:
Do a 5-minute speed walk, then for the muscle being used, do the following:
Legs: 30-40 no weighted squats
Shoulders: 30 side lateral raises
Biceps: 30 dumbbell curls
Triceps: 30 rope pushdowns
Back: 20 wide-grip pulldowns
Chest: 20 incline flies
To know the correct weight to use, I like to take half the weight I am lifting and double the number of reps being performed. So if I was doing shoulders and usually do 15 reps at 10 pounds, I will warm up by doing 30 reps with 5 pounds.
>>Finish your strength-training warm-up by stretching the muscles being used during performance!
I know that warming up may seem time consuming and you just want to get in and go, but take a few minutes, try it out and see what you think.