Before exercising it is very imperative to get a slight warm-up in before jumping into a movement. Depending on what exercises you are performing each day, it helps to do a light cardiovascular warm- up as well as some light stretching. This is the best time for athletes to work on corrective exercises to help them perfect their craft.
The whole reason we warm up before exercising is to improve the body’s core temperature. By doing this we increase circulation and blow flow to the muscles. More blood in the muscles means more oxygen, having a greater impact on your workout performance. When your core temperature goes up, the rate at which your muscles contract goes up as well.
Warming up is a great time to really focus on the movement and get the mind prepared for the exercise your about to perform.
The warm-up itself should be gradual and can be anywhere from 15-30 minutes long. The most important reason to complete a thorough and proper warm up is to ensure there is a less likelihood of injury. Keeping muscles warmed up helps to prevent strains and keep away any overuse injuries that could potentially pop up. Some good exercises to implement for a warm-up include:
- Jumping Rope
- Jumping Jacks
*All exercises should be performed at a light to moderate pace.
You can also combine movements to warm-up each plane of motion. Some examples are:
- Russian twists
- Reverse lunges
Warming Up Before Lifting Heavy
As a general rule more warm-up sets are required for heavier loads. Lighter work sets require fewer warm-up sets. If you are going to squat heavy, it helps to squat a lighter percentage of your working set number. For example, you could start out at 50-60% for 6-10 reps before squatting a much heavier load. Performing these types of warm-ups helps to not only increase the temperature of the muscle and get blood flow to joints, but it minimizes a person’s risk for injury.
Remember, it is ok to start lifting at a lighter weight before working up to the weight for your working set. Don’t rush into those heavy lifts.
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