Warm Up Effectively, Enhance Your Training
How’s your warm up before your workout? What does it look like? Are you even following a warm up routine? Do you know why you should be following one?
That’s a lot of questions, I know, but a solid warm up routine is important. Today we’re going to dive into why a warm up routine before your workout is important, what it should be doing, and how to formulate a solid warm up that won’t take up most of your time in the gym.
A warm up should actually do just that, warm the body up – literally. We’re looking for the warm up to bring the temperature of the body up just slightly, in order to improve blood flow to the tissue (your muscles, fascia etc.) and get it prepped and ready for movement. A warmer body is a little less “stiff”, and there for less likely to become injured during activity.
But, physically raising the temperature of the body is not the only thing your warm up should be doing – at least not if you’re trying to maximize the effectiveness of a warm up routine. Your warm up should also help re-enforce good movement patterns, work on weaknesses/improve injuries, and prepare the body for the movement patterns you’re about to perform.
The time you take before the workout should not only prepare you for the workout ahead of you, but also improve your weaknesses and reduce your risk of injuries.
So how should you go about formulating your own pre-workout routine? Here’s a simple set up, t0 be performed in this order …
1.) Begin With A Little Light Cardio
Now, we’re not suggesting doing a full hour or 30 mins of cardio here. We’re not even suggesting doing hard or vigorous cardio. Simply choose any form of cardio you enjoy, and perform it for 5-10 mins at a very, very, easy pace. The pace should be enough that you can carry on a conversation, it just raises your body temperature to the point of feeling warm, and raises your heart rate slightly. The goal of this is to actually raise the bodies temperature, increase blood flow, and get things prepared for the next phases. Think of this as the “warming” phase of the warm up.
2.) Take The Time To Work On Weaknesses
After you’ve finished your 5-10 mins of light cardio, it’s time to work on your weaknesses. Take this time to work on any areas of specific limitations in mobility, or to perform any corrective exercises that have been given to you by a physiotherapist/clinician. We all have areas of our bodies that don’t work as well as the others, and we all have old or current injuries, the key is to always be working on improving those areas. Take a few mins to give those things attention, and work on improving them. Maybe your thoracic spine needs more rotation, or extension. Maybe your shoulders need some attention. Whatever it is, a little bit of attention to your weaknesses will help enhance your workout and life.
If you don’t know what you’re trouble areas are, get assessed by a trainer or physiotherapist, they’ll help you identify your restrictions and limitations, so you can work on improving them. Thankfully Wynn Fitness has both Personal Trainers and Physiotherapists that are here to help you. If you’re unsure of what your limitations are, contact them and arrange a meeting with one of our Trainers or Physios.
3.) Perform The Main Movements, With Ease
As we discussed in previous blogs, your training should be based around movements – such as the squat, bend/hinge, push, pull, lunge, and rotate. Often times you’ll be choosing 1 or 2 movements at a time to focus on during your workout. Once you’ve completed the other 2 steps in your warm up routine, you can move onto actually using the movement patterns you’re looking to train as a part of your preparation for your workout.
How? By performing a variation of them that you can smoothly, and easily, go through without any trouble at all for a set of 10-15 reps. Why? Because it helps introduce the movement pattern to the body, prepare it for the fact that you’ll be training that movement patter, and there for reduce the risk of injury during the actual “hard working” sets.
So, for example, lets say you’ve chosen Barbell Back Squats and Feet Elevated Push Up work for your workout today. A little lower body and upper body push combination. What you would do is this, before you load the bar and squat the bar, you may want to perform a set of back squats with just the bar itself on your back. You may even want to perform just body weight squats to ease into the movement. Before your Feet Elevated Push Ups, you may want to perform a set of incline push ups on a bar, or push ups from your knees.
These sets aren’t about being difficult, they shouldn’t even feel like work AT ALL. They should just help “groove” the pattern you’re training that day, and help you ease into the working sets. This helps to reduce the risk of injuries during training and improves the quality of your training.
4. Work Out
Now that you’ve completed your 3 step warm up program, you’re ready to workout. This shouldn’t take you all that long, it’s a highly beneficial way to begin your training, and it will improve the quality of your workouts. Remember, there are ways to adjust this warm up routine to suit your needs, but the outline is there to be played with. The goal from training is to improve your life, and to do that you must train effectively – a warm up is a great way to improve how effectiveness of your workouts.