Today I want to touch upon warm ups and how important they are for your body. If you don't warm up, you better start. Not properly warming up your muscles and body before a workout can cause you to injure yourself and also inhibits ultimate performance levels.
What should you start with? No matter what your workout schedule looks like that day, always get your blood flowing. My clients and I always warm up with light cardio (usually walking on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes). It doesn't have to have you out of breath and sweating like a pig, but you want to be warm. When you do a light cardio warm it will increase your blood flow and get your heart working as well. When you are physically warmer, your muscles are more supple and injury is less likely. Try walking or jogging on the treadmill or elliptical. If you have knee pain try the recumbent bike.
Now that you have warmed up with cardio, don't head over to the weights just yet. You want to make sure that your big muscle groups are ready to go (specially the ones you are about to work). You NEVER want to do static stretching before you workout. Read that sentence again. Static stretching is appropriate POST workout. Your body is not warm enough to go into static stretching and can actually be harmful. Instead, try bodyweight exercises that are dynamic such as, walking lunges, push ups, pull ups, butt kicks, and some sort of rotational twist. This will help warm up your big muscle groups and won't put a lot of stress on your muscles and joints pre workout.
The last thing you want to do before exercising, is making sure the smaller muscle groups are ready to work. Don't neglect the small muscles because they are usually the first to get hurt. If you are going to do an upper body workout you MUST warm up your rotator muscles in your shoulders. If you are going to do a lower body workout then warm up your rotator muscles in your hips. Many times when these groups are underdeveloped and weak, they will cause other problems in your major muscle groups.
Try these tips out before your next workout and feel the difference. Take precaution before it's too late! Oh, and have a wonderful weekend!
In good health,
Cristina Walterman, owner of CW Physique, let's you in on fitness and nutrition tips, recipes, exercises and much more. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, she loves to inspire and motivate individuals. She always practices what she preaches and leads by example.