THE TOP BENEFITS OF WARMING UP
Starting a new exercise routine can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time!
What exercises are the best for your goals?
What exercises should be avoided based on your injury history?
But an even more important question to be asked is, what is the best warm-up routine?
Most importantly, why bother with any warm-up exercises?
A warm up routine can provide many benefits, such as improved athletic performance, helping your body to burn more calories during your workout routine, helping you decrease your risk of injury, and so much more…
Since 2010, I’ve been working as a personal trainer for athletes of all ages.
In 2016 I opened my own gym called Bent On Better, where we have helped hundreds of busy adults get in shape, lose weight, look great, feel great, and have more energy.
As a strength training-focused personal training facility, all our members go through our two staged warm-up routines every time they train and live in the benefits of warming up!
In this post, we’ll cover the two main types of warm-ups, the top benefits of warming up (and list the many additional benefits of warming up),
and at the end, I’ll give you the warm-up we use for our clients at Bent On Better.
Let’s get into it!
THE BENEFITS OF WARMING UP
There are more than enough reasons to exercise, but what about reasons to warm up before exercise?
There are many benefits to warming up your body before performing physical activity.
No matter the actual workout, the National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that the cardiorespiratory portion of a warm-up last between 5 and 10 minutes and be performed at a low-to-moderate intensity level.
There are two main ideologies when it comes to warm-up exercises:
Static stretching and Dynamic stretching
Both are beneficial for improving overall performance, reducing the risk of injury, and enhancing overall physical health, and they have their time and place in a successful fitness routine. Still, more and more literature supports one ideology over the other regarding real benefit…
It’s perfect for an upper body workout, lower body workout, full body workout, light workout, aerobic exercise, and anaerobic exercise.
It is the best approach for one’s physical health and mental health…
It helps enhance athletic performance, elevates body temperature, and prepares large muscle groups and small muscle groups for an activity.
The dynamic warmup is most applicable for the best bang for your buck in the warm-up world.
The TOP benefits of warming up
(and the effects when done on a regular basis)
Increased heart rate and respiratory rate
Increases the cardiorespiratory system’s capacity to perform work
Increases blood flow to active muscle tissue
Increases the oxygen exchange capacity
Increased tissue temperature
Increases rate of muscle contraction
Increases efficiency of opposing muscle contraction and relaxation
Increases metabolic rate
Increases the soft tissue extensibility
Helps warm the body’s connective tissues
Muscle temperature increases
Increased psychological preparation for bouts of exercise
Increases the mental readiness of an individual
Improves blood flow to the brain
And there is additional number of benefits to warming up:
- Prepares the body for physical activity
- Reduces the risk of injury
- Exercise performance / Workout performance improve
- Improves the work capacity of the cardiovascular system
- Boosts energy levels
- Improves mental focus
- Promotes recovery
- Increased delivery of nutrients and oxygenated blood to the muscles
- Promotes better joint lubrication
- Helps improve posture
- Helps improve balance
- Reduces muscle tension
- Helps stimulate your central nervous system & circulatory system
- It can help reduce stress and anxiety
- Enhances the body’s ability to burn fat (improved metabolic activity)
- Helps to activate the body’s natural pain-relieving mechanisms
- Injury Prevention
Warm Up Routine
My personal training facility offers small group personal training and private 1:1 personal training. The type of warm-up routine we use in our small group personal training warm-up can be found below. We start with a more yoga-inspired warm-up for a short period of time and then a short dynamic exercise warm-up. Give it a try before your next workout!
The Bent On Better warm-up
Cat Cow : 5 down, 5 up (wag your tail after each rotation, open and close your jaw, and look left to right)
Adductor rock backs: 5 reps each leg
T-Spine rotations: 5 each side
Glute Bridges: 10 reps
Single raises 10 each leg
Iron cross: 5 reps each side
Dynamic exercises (slower pace is fine):
High knees (walk or skip)
Butt kicks (walk or skip)
Toy soldier march
Cool Downs for After Your Workout
Typically done after a high-intensity type of exercise or strength (resistance) training. Holding each stretch for 30-45 seconds for the best results to help relax and lengthen the muscles (improving muscle elasticity).
Typically done after a high-intensity type of exercise (HIIT) or endurance workouts. An extended cool-down period to allow the heart rate to gradually come down and muscles to stay active can help reduce muscle soreness (e.g., a brisk walk after a long run).
Typically done after strength (resistance) training or high-intensity workouts. Applying your desired amount of pressure to tight, sore, or warm muscles can help improve blood circulation and reduce muscle tension.
(read more about the benefits of foam rolling here)
It is typically done as a proper warm-up but can also be used after any workout. Involves muscles and joints going through exercises that provide a gradual increase using a full range of motion movements to improve overall muscle and joint health.
Yoga or Pilates
Typically done as a standalone workout or part of a warm-up or cool-down routine. Involves a series of poses and movements designed to help improve flexibility, balance, relaxation, and even stress relief.