“I only have an hour to spend in the gym. Is it really that important to warm up?” YES! A quality, dynamic warm up is the key to a top-notch and effective workout and preventing injury. Increasing circulation, stimulating the nervous system, and increasing your body’s core temperature while moving your joints through a full range of motion will set the stage for quality gym time.
What is a Warm Up?
A good warm up is a gentle and gradual increase in core body temperature consisting of dynamic movement patterns in all three planes of motion: frontal (side to side), sagittal (front to back), and transverse (rotational). By moving the body through these functional patterns, you slowly increase blood flow to the muscles which increases the amount of oxygen available to them resulting in optimal performance.
Why Should I Spend My Precious Gym Time Warming Up?
1. Injury Prevention
When you’re injured you can’t workout. When you’re not working out, you’re not making improvements to your body. Think of a cold muscle like a rubber band or taffy. Before it gets stretched and moved around it is very stiff and harder to move. Our muscles are the same way. They need to be flexed and stretched in many different directions to be most pliable but it’s easier to do those movements once the body is warmed up.
2. A Better, More Efficient Workout
When muscles are properly warmed up your body temperature rises contributing to faster muscle contraction and relaxation setting you up for a more efficient workout and overall bigger strength gains.
3. Fire Up Your Cardiovascular System
The cardiovascular system, also known as the circulatory system, includes the heart and blood vessels and operates as the transportation system of your body. During your warm up, you start increasing the delivery of oxygen throughout the body, increasing body temperature and this reduces the risk of cardio abnormalities during exertion.
4. Mobility Improves
As you warm up you’ll lubricate your joints resulting in the ability to move easier and have less painful movement through a full range of motion. You’ll also gain flexibility and increase your range of motion when you warm up and exercise consistently.
5. Get Your Mind Right
Warming up mentally prepares you for an excellent workout that will produce the results that keep you coming back to the gym. It can also improve your technique, skill and coordination.
A Proper Warm Up Should:
- Increase core body temperature.
- Increase tri-planar function of the body.
- Increase spatial awareness.
- Enhance coordination and balance.
- Prepare the mind for physical activity.
- Increase bloodflow to the heart, preparing it for an extra load during your activity.
Do yourself and your body a favor by ALWAYS including a full body dynamic warm up before any activity to prevent injury and enhance performance. Start strong and finish stronger!