One of the most critical parts of your success in the gym happens before you even pick up a weight. The “warm up” is an age old debate that has been around since Arnold Schwarzenegger was a baby, so why are people still unclear of the benefits? Why is warming up important and what is the proper way to prep your body for your workout? Letʼs break it down so you can enlighten your friends next time they walk into the gym to start lifting without any prep.
1. Injury Prevention
The #1 secret to getting in shape is being able to stay consistent in the gym. For this reason, you MUST stay healthy in order to get results. This is why the warm up is so important and should never be overlooked before your workout.
In the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, various studies indicate that “The potential for reduced injury rates may be greater if the type of warm-up relates directly to the activity subsequently undertaken, and where the participants are of similar ages. The warm-up should be sport-/activity-specific and tailored to the age of your client/group.”
Out of the hundreds and thousands of experiments done through the years, one common denominator reigns true: a warm up can significantly reduce your change of being injured. All it takes is 10 minutes prior to your workout to prep your body for optimal performance and injury prevention. Donʼt be that guy/girl who comes in the gym and immediately starts benching 225lbs. Take the time to get your body ready and keep yourself safe. Remember that you are developing habits. You want to develop the correct habits, and warming up before exercise is a habit that is paramount to the success of your goals!.
2. Optimal Performance
Not only does a warm up prevent physical injury in the gym, it also increases your physical performance. Whether you are sitting in a chair or lying in bed, your body is sending only about 20% of blood flow to your skeletal system. Most of the small blood vessels in those muscles are closed, leaving your body in a “relaxed” state. However, with just 10 minutes of total body exercise, blood flow to those muscles increases to about 75%. That means that your body is now “awake” and will increase in temperature as well as release oxygen more readily. All this scientific talk boils down to one critical detail: more blood & oxygen to your working muscles means better overall performance.
3. Mental Preparation
Another great benefit to a proper warm up is the mental maintenance you can perform on yourself. Getting to the gym is not always easy, and thinking about what you may need to focus on is even harder. For this reason, a 10 minute warm up gives you time to decompress from your day and switch gears to prepare for your workout. If you do not focus on what you need to accomplish in the gym BEFORE you start your workout, your physical performance will be limited. Use this 10 minute period before you start working out to prepare yourself with a Champion Mindset.
4. How do I warm up?
Warming up does not have to be a complex routine. It can be as easy as walking on the treadmill, dynamic stretching, or even hopping on the stair master. The main task you are trying to accomplish in warming up is waking up your body.
Getting primed for your workout is all about increasing blood flow and oxygen to your muscles. Donʼt stress yourself out with needing the perfect warm up. The main takeaway from all of this is simple: invest the time before your workout to optimize your performance and keep you safe during your workout.
If you are ready to dive in to the art of the warm up, check out our other blogs or try Mark’s Dynamic Warm-up to get an in depth look at preparing different body parts. Even if itʼs just walking on the treadmill, take the time to invest in your body before you train it. If you have any questions or want some warm up tips, leave a comment below!
-by Don Cherry