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Never Skip The Warm Up!

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When it comes to exercise, you may already feel pressed for time in your fast-paced world where everything operates at one speed: GO!

Understandably, you likely want a workout equally as effective as it is efficient.

Easiest way to shorten a workout? Skip the warm up of course!

It’s common to believe the most important part of any exercise program is the workout itself where you get all sweaty and tired.

The warm up? Eh, feels unimportant and kinda like a waste of time.

While I can appreciate and understand your excitement to get strong, get to work and get it done, it is SUPER important to understand WHY the warm up is a **CRUICAL** part of not just your workout, but your RESULTS!

As coaches, we cannot stress how important the warm up is for you, especially before engaging in strenuous exercise like strength training.

If you are looking to shorten your workout because you are pressed for time, this is not where you want to cut corners.

In fact, if you are looking to maximize results, the warmup is definitely NOT worth skipping.

To make 100% sure you never skip your warm-up again, today’s coaches blog is teaching you the important of the warm up:

  1. Why your body NEEDS to warm up!

  2. How the warm-up delivers a MORE productive + effective workout!

  3. How to get the best warm up!


Why Your Body Needs to Warm Up

At it’s core, a warm up is a specific set of dynamic stretching exercises designed to prepare your body for exercise and movement patterns that are more strenuous, more intense, and done for a longer duration than regular daily activities. 

A proper warm-up acts as a catalyst to prepare your body not only physically, but mentally as well, so your body can perform at optimal functioning for higher-level tasks.  It is important to note the mind-body connection is pertinent for maximal output.  What this means is, though your body may be ready to go, your mind needs to be in the game, too for best results! 

And sure, the warm up portion of your workout may not help much with burning calories or building muscle but it IS a key component contributing to your performance and overall success.

Warm ups are designed to mentally and physically prepare your body. Any activity beyond the normal day to day functions requires a higher level of muscle output. Before getting to that output, your body needs time to shunt blood flow and energy from organs in order to increase blood flow to your muscles.  This takes time and DOES NOT happen in a matter of seconds. 

If you jump into your workout without warming up, your body doesn’t have enough time to prepare for a strong stimulus and this puts you at greater risk for injury. A true warm up fires on all cylinders by engaging your cardiovascular system, pulmonary system and neuromuscular system – all the stuff we include in every RF warm up before each and every workout!

Now let’s talk about all those glorious benefits you get just from warming up.


8 Benefits of Warming Up

So what exactly happens to your body both physically and mentally when you warm up?

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

1.  Elevated body and muscle temperature: This allows your muscles to receive more oxygen and contract and relax more easily, enhancing speed and strength during your workout- heck yeah!

2.  Increased range of motion: This is super important as it allows your large joints (think shoulders, knees, hips) to reach their maximal movement potential without overstretching and causing injury – this means you will move better – hooray!

3.  Reduced risk for injury: The warm up improves muscle elasticity by increasing blood flow and making your muscles more pliable. This ensures your muscles can move the right way rather than adding strain on your spine or knee joints – safety first!

4.  More blood flow and oxygen: Our blood vessels dilate as we warm up resulting in increased blood flow and less strain on our hearts during the actual workout. This also helps provide your muscles with a continuous supply of oxygen – all good things!

5. Energy surge: Increased production of hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine allows for more energy production and you guessed it, a better workout – hello results!

MENTAL BENEFITS

1.  Better focus and head space: The warm up is your time to mentally prepare yourself for the workout so you can let go of your day and allow yourself time to find your way out of your head and into your body.

2.  Enhanced mind-body connection: Warming up primes the brain for all the movement sequences you will be performing during your workout by engaging neural pathways needed to do each movement. This is super important because it allows for increased reaction times as well as improved technique, skill and coordination during each movement / exercise.

3.  Increased focus on breathing: The breath is the most important element for creating the mind-body connection. The warm up helps you shift focus on your body by linking your breath to your movements, increasing focus and mental preparation for our workout.


How to Do the Best Warm Up

I am going to answer that burning question with another question: what are you preparing for?

In short, it’s going to depend because warm ups are not a one-size-fits-all routine.  The best warm ups are designed with the specific workout, sport, or activity you are preparing for in mind. Much like how exercise programs are strategically structured, the same can be said about the warm up.

For example, the warm up for a football player is going to be different than the warm up for a strength-based workout or three mile run. 

Whatever you do, a 5-10 minute warm up is optimal before a 60 minute workout.


Does Stretching Count?

The quick answer is yes and no based on what you’re doing.

  • Static stretching (think a stretch you hold versus move with) will only improve muscle/tissue length temporarily. It does not increase body or muscle temperature and does not lead to injury reduction.  Static stretching is more effective post workout as part of your cooldown routine.

  • Dynamic stretching on the other hand does allow for proper muscle activation. Dynamic stretching is a movement-based type of stretching preparing your muscles, ligaments and soft tissue by stretching to the activity about to be performed.  By creating heat, tissue length and mobility, we activate key muscle groups and decrease the risk for injury. 


Warming up is imperative to the success of ANY workout regimen.  Not only does it assist in injury prevention, which is crucial for continued, pain-free workout sessions, but it also provides us time for a brain dump before we get to work!  Taking the time to warm up will improve your overall success not only at the gym but in everything you do day to day so, remember:

· DO take 5-10 minutes before any workout for a proper dynamic stretching routine!

· DON’T simply perform a few quick static stretches before strenuous activity like strength training!

· DO your body good by creating that mind-body connection for THE MOST EFFECTIVE workout!

· NEVER SKIP YOUR WARM UP!!



 

Keep living healthy, happy + strong!

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