Why warm up before exercise?
It’s so tempting isn’t it? You’ve got an hour to get your work out done, there’s no time to waste, you want to get straight on with the hard work... You don’t really need to warm up, do you?
Unfortunately this mind-set is all too common, but can lead to nasty injuries, fluctuations in heart rate, dizziness and more. It’s a similar mind-set to the ‘I don’t really need to stretch one’ - which we’ll be looking in to next week.
I always begin my Personal Training sessions with a relevant warm up, as a good warm up is designed to prepare the body for the exercises that it’s about to preform.
The warm up should gradually increase heart rate and circulation, mobilising and sending fluid to the joints and increasing blood flow to the muscles, and also prepare the mind for the workout.
A good warm up will begin to work the muscles that you will be using – there’s little point in preforming squats in your warm up if your workout is an arms one - starting small/gently and gradually getting bigger/harder.
If you’re looking for some ideas of exercises to do in a warm up, here are a few of my favourites:
- Lunges – forwards, backwards, sideways… the lunge is a really versatile warm up exercise.
- High kicks – great for dynamic stretching of hamstrings.
- Torso rotations – twisting the body and preparing the spine for movement.
- Air squats – especially if you’re going to add some weight to them!
- Shoulder rotations – mobilising the shoulder joints for upper body movements.
- In short - any exercise that mimics the movements that you’ll be doing during the workout!