The first steps you take after entering into ‘workout mode’ make or break your regimen. If you want to pull through your exercise session comfortably, warming up is vital. A competent warm-up routine will pave the way towards an injury and strain-free workout.
Read on for a guide to an ideal warm-up, so you can perform your best every time you work those muscles!
What Are The Constituents Of A Perfect Warm-Up Routine?
An excellent warm-up routine prepares your body as well as your nervous system for a vigorous session of activity. It removes weak links and enhances the quality of your movement. These together minimize the risk of injuries.
An ideal warm-up should comprise an assortment of dynamic stretches, activation drills, and mild exercises that set the tone for movement. It puts your blood flowing, directs fluids to the joints, and eliminates waste materials from muscles.
A fitting set of warm-up activities can boost your posture besides upping your heart rate. You can address issues like imbalance and engagement while warming up too. Focus on the large muscle groups first. Follow up by mimicking the exercises you will be performing during your workout.
Suitable Duration Of A Warm-Up
Ideally, a warm-up routine should last for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If you are going to sweat out through an intense workout, the intensity of your warm-up should rival it in its form. The longer your activity, the greater your prep should be.
The Perfect Warm-Up Program
The perfect warm-up program opens up your body to make exercising easier. In this guide, you will find the best overall exercises for this purpose that generally seal the deal. Remember that you are free to incorporate other practices or your versions into your routine too! You should do what works best for you.
Foam rolling is the best way to inaugurate your warm-up regimen. It is somewhat like a massage, removing knots and scar tissue acculturations. It also helps in addressing trigger points in your body.
Ideally, you should aim for at least 8-10 rolls for each part of your body. When you come across a trigger spot or a section that feels tender, slow down and allow it to dissipate.
Most importantly, you should target your upper back, calves, glutes, and groin area.
Static stretches are warm-up movements that consist of stretches that you must hold. They help in lengthening and loosening the muscles plus connecting tissue. Your extent of motion and degree of flexibility receive a boost when you engage in static stretching.
Here are three of the best static stretches:
Lying hamstring stretches
Lying hamstring stretches involve lying flat on the floor and stretching out your legs. You can raise your leg as high as comfortable and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. You should experience the pull in your hamstrings.
Hip flexor stretches
Seated butterfly stretches, bridges, and lunge stretches are common hip flexor exercises. They warm-up your inner thighs, lower back, and hip. It would be best if you held each stretch for a couple of seconds.
These work the major muscles in your upper arms, suitable for stabilizing the shoulders and elbow extension.
Overhead tricep stretches and horizontal arm stretches should suffice in this area.
Dynamic stretches involve active movement. They prime your body to function at high intensities during the workout. Here are some excellent dynamic stretches:
Arm, leg, and hip circles or rotations
Leg and Arm swings
Twist lunges- You need to lunge forward and then reach upward with an arm while twisting your torso towards the opposite side
For best results, you must perform at least five repetitions of every dynamic stretch on each side.
Once you finish stretching, you can begin with other warm-up movements.
Squats are a classic warm-up exercise, working different muscle groups. You can do squats with variations, too. An example would be to squat down and then kick or lift your leg sideways while coming back up. Try to do three sets with twelve reps each.
Pushups engage your upper body, glutes, and core. If you cannot do full pushups, you can try doing knee or wall pushups. For advancements, you can hold the lower position for some seconds. Ideally, you should do one to three sets comprising eight to twelve repetitions.
Planks help in warming up your entire body while benefitting your posture and balance. There are several variations of planks, such as side planks and forearm planks. You should go for a variation that feels comfortable and easy, and subsequently, work your way towards an advanced version. Attempt holding the plank for as long as you can, engaging your muscles.
Slowly jogging on the spot or around the block can get your heart rate up and boost circulation. You can try shuffling things up a bit by jogging slowly, gradually increasing speed, and finally finishing the last leg in a sprint.
People overlook the importance of warm-ups more often than never. Don’t be one of them! You should warm up plentifully before starting your workout session. You will notice visible improvements in your flow, flexibility, and overall performance once you begin warming up properly.