: How to workout | How to warm up
How to workout | How to warm up
‘Just jump on the treadmill and do a light warm up’ is what most people will have been told by someone in the past to do as a ‘sufficient’ warm up.
But is it enough?
Well, that’s what I am going to talk about today, and you will find out as you scroll down, how to perform a proper warm up that will prepare the body for the impact of exercise.
Let’s start with WHY. Then we will get on to how to warm up
Why do we need to warm up?
Good question- Thanks
Well, any exercise you perform that takes your body out of its steady state will cause some trauma to your joints, muscles, ligament and tendons. That exercise can be running, playing sports, weight lifting or even taking the dog for a walk – in some cases.
Which is why those joints and muscles need to be prepared beforehand so that no injury will occur.
So why can’t I just use the treadmill to warm up?
Well, running itself is quite an arduous task, and creates a great deal of pressure for your ankles, knees, hips, lower back, calves, thighs blah blah blah – let’s just say it puts a lot of pressure on stuff.
So if they haven’t prepared yourself before you do this then you can end up with a few niggling injuries.
People tend to use running to get fit, when really you need to be fit to run.
So, if you can’t run on the treadmill to warm up then what can you do?
Below I have provided a series of exercises and videos for you to use, learn and copy from. By incorporating this into your routines and before your workouts you should make use of the body in a proper way and prepare the muscles accordingly to the exercises that you are going to do.
But, before we get onto that I want to explain a bit more about why this type of warm up is much more effective that just hoping on a machine for a few minutes.
Preparing the body for the function in which it is about to be used.
Let’s say for instance, that you are about to workout with some weights, and that you are going to do a full body workout- like one of the ones I post up on here. These workouts typically involved some sort of upper body pressing and pulling movement, and lower body squatting, lunging or bending movement.
To me, it would make more sense to warm the body up to those movements that you are going to do in the work out.
To put it a better way, running on the treadmill, using the cross trainer or bike isn’t going to use the same muscles, movements of joint actions as say, a squat or push up because they are muscles that are used in a completely different way.
I hope you are following so far
While I don’t want you to develop a hatred for old Mr treadmill, and to look at it with an awkward eye, I do however want to introduce you to, and broaden your mind to some exercises and stretches that will not only warm you up efficiently, but also increase your flexibility and range of motion.
Being able to move better is all about improving mobility, which is defined as the ability to reach a certain posture of position.
Improving mobility will also mean that when you get old and grey you won’t be calling for a walking stick, or the help of a carer to get you out of a chair instead, you will be moving as if you were 10 years old again. – Maybe.
Static stretching – is it good enough?
In a nutshell… no. The reason why you shouldn’t really do static muscular stretching before a workout is because it will prepare the body only for a non-moving environment and not prepare it for movement or quickness. This is why you should opt for dynamic and ligamentous stretching before and leave the static stuff until afterwards., as it does have it’s purpose in a workout, it’s just often misunderstood.
Dynamic warm ups can prepare your muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and fire up your nervous system before a workout so that you can train at an optimum level.
Setting up your warm up routine as a circuit is always a good way to not only improve your flexibility but also get the heart rate going a little.
A simple circuit of what I would do, would be the one below.
Click the links to see your favourite trainer (me) doing a demo!
A2. Kneeling Push Up 10 reps
A3. Bodyweight Alternating Lunge 10 reps
A4. Hand Walkouts 10 reps
You would complete 3 circuits of this before you begin to workout.
Doing something like this can be much more beneficial than just 5 minutes on the cross trainer.
I would personally recommend doing this before any sort of workout.
Our bodies were designed first and foremost, to survive. Secondly, designed to move. But nowadays, we are more likely to sit around more than we would get up and be active. Apart from the obvious risk this has to the weight of the vast majority of the population, it also has detrimental effects to a lot of our joints and ligaments.
Our bodies will have a cool way of protecting/shortening ligaments that get under used through time.
So for example, if you are sat with your legs at a 90-degree position i.e. in a chair for 8, 10, 12 hours a day your ligaments around your hip joint will have shortened- they have no reason to be stretched.
So, when you come to being active i.e. going to the gym, you end up having a little bit of trouble – cue sore lower back pain.
This is when a static ligamentous stretch can come in handy, like the ones below.
These can send a signal to your brain to tell the ligaments relax a little and allow for a bit more range of movement .
Think of it like this – Use it or lose it
Here are 2 video descriptions of the 2 main exercises I would include into my warm up.
90/90 Hip Stretch
Foam Rolling – Ah those little cylindrical foam pieces of torture
Have you ever seen those foam cylinder things in the gym they are normally brightly coloured?
Well they’re pretty good.
What do they do?
Foam rolling will basically smoothen out and lengthen your muscles, think of it like ironing out wrinkles in a shirt, but instead your removing adhesions and scar tissue from the muscles. This will in turn help with better blood circulation to the muscles and aid in recovery too.
You see, when you exercise you create little micro tears in the muscles. Over time these micro tears can turn into adhesions and scars and create tightness in the muscle- you could think of this as a knot.
Now stretching is good but if you have a knot in the muscle then think of your muscle as a piece of string with a knot in it, and the more the stretch or pull the muscle then the more the knot will tighten up, but by rolling it, it will loosen up and relax.
Try these exercises
So give these a go in this order.
- Foam Roll ( 3 minutes )
- Ligamentous Stretching ( 3 minutes )
- Full Body Warm Up Circuit ( 5 minutes )
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