Match Your Warmup to Your Workout for Wonderful Results

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Do you want to have stellar workouts and meet your goals? Then, don’t shirk your warm up! A proper warm up can help you achieve the goals you’ve set for your day’s training, prevent injury and boost performance in the long-run.

A warm up should include 7-10 minutes of dynamic (not static or ballistic) stretching and movements that gradually increase joint range of motion. If you follow some general tips, the warm-up will:

  • Lubricate your joints.
  • Raise your core body temperature and warm muscles to increase energy production.
  • Increase blood flow and oxygenation to muscles and organs, including your brain and heart.
    Serve as a rehearsal and open neural pathways.

Get Moving and Warmed Up to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

Understanding the “why’s” of a warm up is step one. Step two is crafting a warm-up that suits your needs. Try the tips below to craft a warm up to suit your workout.


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Cardio/Endurance

Warming up for an endurance based cardiovascular workout is simple if you remember the basic concept that a warm-up should mimic aspects of the movements you will sustain. If you are going to walk, row, swim, run, bike or the like, choose rehearsal movements. If you plan to run, hike, or walk, for example, try easy walking or jogging, walking lunges, heel walking, knee lifts and leg swings. If you have an equipment based cardio workout plan, get on the apparatus and start some easy pedaling, rowing or movement. Spend the first 10 minutes of slow movement visualizing your plan to make sure your brain is in the game.

Strength Training

workout-warmup

A strength training workout involves using full joint range of motion and exerting muscular force in both the lengthened and shortened phases of a movement. Your joints and muscles will respond better to increased loads if you warm your core body temperature with large non-weighted rehearsal movements like pelvic tilts, standing push-ups against a wall, walking lunges, gentle calf raises and squats.

Once your legs loosen-up, add some upper body moves that gradually increasing your joint range of motion. You can start with shrugs. Change that to shoulder rolls. Make the roll bigger by adding elbows into the action. Then, finally, “swim” forward and backward with long arms to ready your shoulders, arms, chest and upper back.

Interval/HITT Workout

An interval workout that involves plyometrics requires a different warm-up than a repetitive endurance workout or a straight strength workout. To craft a warm-up to boost your performance in an interval style workout, think about the specific drills you will do and execute the most basic, low-impact version of that exercise as a warm-up. If the workout involves burpees, push-ups and power squats or lunges start with some slow non-jumping versions of those exercises. Try burpees with a walk out instead of a jump back. Do gentle calf raises before launching into vertical jumps. Step side-to-side and squat slowly to prep for bounding and power jacks. Whatever you plan to do fast and powerful later, do pieces of it slowly without jumping in the warm-up.

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