The Dynamic Warm-Up

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Fitness, Health
Tags: , , , , ,

“I’m going to go warm-up first”…  So I hop on the treadmill or bike for 5 minutes before my workout right?  Well, sort of…I’m certainly guilty of improperly warming up myself.  Our precious gym time can be short and who wants to waste time warming up…I want to get to the good stuff!

What is a proper warm-up, what will it do for me, and how should I do it?  A proper warm-up will serve several purposes.  It will increase your body temperature, improve circulation and therefore oxygen delivery, improve elasticity and control of muscles, and prevent injury.  I also find a mental benefit.  It gives me those extra minutes to get focused on my workout.

Below I’m going to give an example of a series of activities that can get you ready for your workout:  you can take as little as 5 minutes if you like.  (Don’t forget your Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter or Pump Igniter first! ;-))

  1. Go ahead and get on the cardio equipment for a few minutes if you like.  I would limit this to 5 minutes maximum.
  2. Foam Rolling:  doing a little self myofascial release can be great before or after your workout.  See my previous blog on Foam Rolling for more specifics  This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you have the time and the equipment, I definitely recommend it.  Personally, I do most of my foam rolling after my workout at home.
  3. Here’s the bread and butter part.  Dynamic stretching – this is essentially stretching with movement.  Gone are the days of stretching each muscle with a 30 second hold before engaging in activity (save this for after).  There are no static holds involved (each movement is held for no more than a few seconds).  You can pick and choose any activity that will suit your workout or you can do a full body circuit of dynamic stretches.  Some examples include:  jumping jacks, arm circles, lunges with a twist, knee-to-chest (alternately pulling the knee in toward the chest while walking/standing in place), straight-leg high kicks, or any other variety of bodyweight activities (push-ups, lunges, squats).  You just have to be creative and make sure that you are working at improving your overall range of motion and flexibility for the muscles involved.
  4. Rehearsal Lift:  Don’t just load up the weights and go.  Perform one to two sets of your target exercise with a significantly lighter weight before you hit your working sets.  DO NOT overdo the reps here.  Just because you can easily bang out 20 reps doesn’t mean you should; limit it to 10 reps or less.  Save your energy for the big weights!

So, steps 1 and 2 are not entirely necessary but go ahead and do them if you have time or want to.  Definitely stick to steps 3 and 4 if you want to improve your lifts and prevent injury.  Overall, it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.  Now get going!

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