Your fifth-grade gym teacher or your sports coach has often told you: it is essential to warm up your body before playing sports. Sadly, to many people, warming up seems abstract and many more do not see the point of it.
This is a massive mistake, and in this article, we have set out to clear up that misconception once and for all. We will explain why it is essential to warm up properly before a gym session and also how to go about it.
The importance of warming up
Every self-respecting weightlifter does a rigorous warm-up before gym sessions. If you are not among them, here are some arguments that will convince you to start right away.
Overall, a proper warm-up before your workout will prepare your body for a more productive session. You will be in an ideal physical condition to perform your workout. When your body is well warmed up, your knees and shoulders will be far less susceptible to sprains, strains, and dislocations. A few exercises to warm up before your session will also help you avoid post-training fatigue. Warming up promotes recovery by preparing your body for exercise and will protect you from micro-injuries and muscle tears.
Beyond the benefits to your body, a warm-up is also the time to prepare yourself mentally for your training session. During the first few minutes of your workout, refocus and clear your mind of the events of that day. You will enjoy your workout even more and feel a real sense of physical and mental well-being when you are focused during your session.
Not only that, but studies have shown that performance and muscle gain are impacted by how much you focus during the gym session. Preparing mentally will quite literally help you achieve your long-term goals quicker, and this is an advantage that can’t be discounted.
A proper warm-up prepares your cardiovascular system for the upcoming exercise. A few minutes of warm-up will progressively increase your heart rate and oxygenate your muscle cells. Your joints will be better lubricated and your muscle cells will be more flexible, both of which are key for a proper session, and they help you avoid injuries.
How to warm up
To do your warm-up properly, you will need to follow some basic principles. First, make sure you warm up gradually. By slowly raising your body temperature and heart rate, you prepare your body for the training session. Be careful not to be too demanding on your body during the warm-up. You should not warm up too intensely as that defeats the whole purpose of a warm-up. You do not want to be exhausted before you even start your proper training session.
Finally, adapt it to the sport you are doing. If you are preparing for fitness training, your warm-up will be very different from that of a heavy weight lifting session for example. And above all, do not forget to keep yourself hydrated from the very first seconds of your training.
#2 A Little Bit Of Cardio
Whatever physical activity you are going to do, it is always a good idea to start with a cardiovascular warm-up. You can start with 10 minutes on a treadmill, a rowing machine, or an elliptical to prepare your body for the training session ahead.
Then move on to the specific warm-up depending on the type of gym activity you are going to perform and the muscles you are going to use. If it is your leg day, start preparing your lower body by doing bodyweight exercises that activate your leg muscles. For example, perform a few half-squats and lunges on the spot. This same principle applies regardless of the muscles you are going to work (the arms, your core, etc.).
#4 Warming Up The Joints
The last but not least step of the warm-up before your session is a joint warm-up. The joints are nevertheless essential to all physical activities, both in our daily lives and in the gym. A proper warm-up is essential if you want to avoid injuries. On top of it all, nothing could be easier than warming up your joints.
To do this, you just need to do a few rotation movements. For example, for your knees, bend slightly and make small circles in one direction and then in the other. Proceed in the same way for all the joints (wrists, shoulders, elbows, etc.), taking care to make sure your movements are rather slow.
Proper, regular, well-executed warm-ups, alongside the best pre-workout supplements, are an essential ingredient of any successful gym routine. If you want to successfully build muscle mass, stay fit while avoiding injuries, you need to warm up pre-workout.