No matter if you’re gearing up for a cardio hour or an intense weight lifting session, a thorough warm-up should be the first priority. The best warm-ups heat and loosen up your muscles while preparing your mind for the hard work ahead. But be careful, there are some moves that can actually hinder your workout, so it’s important to learn which exercises to implement and which to avoid.
Know the Basics
Using dynamic techniques gets your joints moving one at a time and then all together. This takes your body through the movements so your muscles loosen and become familiar with the movements before stress is added.
This style of warm-up helps your body perform at its best while helping to avoid injury. When you jump into a workout with cold muscles, they can be rigid and vulnerable to injuries. Putting your muscles through easy movements help them loosen up so that when stress is added, your muscles and joints can handle the workload.
For example, before a long run, do some dynamic stretches, like high knees, to put your body through the movements before you take off. If you’re planning on doing some weight lifting, start warming up with just your body weight so your muscles become familiar with the movement.
It’s important to remember to leave the static “reach and hold” style stretches for the cool-down. Studies have shown that performing these exercises before a workout can actually inhibit your performance and increase risk of injury.
While warm-ups differ for different styles of exercise, keep these four basic goals in mind during every warm-up routine.
Loosen up. Warm up your joints, muscles and ligaments by prepping your body with mobility movements. Use a foam roller to get blood moving through major muscle groups like the back, legs and glutes.
Heart pumping. Slowly increase your heart rate to get it pumping and ready to go! You can jog, row, or bike on a low resistance to get moving. Just make sure you can still carry on a conversation or sing along to your favorite song. You don’t want to push yourself too hard fresh off the bat.
Dynamic stretches. Stretch out, but don’t hold it. Dynamic stretches involve continuously moving through a range of motion. You can make big arm circles, kick your legs up, or touch your toes and reach up over and over.
Practice. Move through the exercises you have planned for your workout. Don’t use weight, just get your body prepped for the positions you’ll be putting it in. This teaches muscle memory so your body is ready to go!
Have fun with your warm-ups! Remember to listen to your body and don’t ignore any aches or pains. If you notice your range of motion is limited or that a certain movement hurts, consider contacting Airrosti. Our providers pinpoint the cause of your pain and treat it at the source so you can get back to moving and grooving!
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