Whatever type of the workout session you intend to do – whether weight or strength training or a 5K, pre workout warming up is a must-to-do.
Purpose of pre workout warm up is to warm and loosen body, and get blood flowing to your muscles before you go hard. It’s important to do a total-body warm up as it helps reduce the risk of overuse-injuries and prevent sprains & strains. Read on to learn all that you need to know about pre workout warm up.
Warm Up Exercises Format
A good workout warm up should comprise of following basic warm up exercises, as outlined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
(i) Exercises To Loosen Up: Warm your joints, muscles, and prepare your body for workout with mobility movements.
(ii) Exercises That Raise Your Heart Rate: Increased heart rate warms up your muscles and switches on your nervous system. For example medium pace brisk walking, slow jogging, or riding a bike on low resistance. Just be sure you’re able to converse with your workout buddy or with yourself (if no body is near you).
(iii) Dynamic Stretches: Dynamic stretching is a form of active movement that involves continuously moving through a range of motion. It better prepare you for your workout or sporting activity. For example, you can perform large arm circles in both directions, try to touch your toes and then reach for the sky or simply kick your legs forward. The key is to not hold in any position, in other words: Stretch to warm up your muscles, but don’t hold the stretch.
(iv) Imitating the Exercise Moves: Perform the exercises movements that you intend to do for that day’s workout at a lesser intensity. In this manner, you will warm up the muscle groups that you will be using. For instance if you are about to perform Back Squats, begin with bodyweight squats or by just holding an empty bar. Imitating the movement patterns prompts muscle memory and continues to prepare your body for action.
Top 10 Warm Up Exercises Before Workout
Arm Circles: 30-60 seconds
Circle your arms from one side to the other – clockwise & anti-clockwise. You may also raise your arm up in the air, while taking deep breath. And when you exhale, bend over and move your hands towards the ground.
Tip: Increase tempo of the movements slowly.
Twist Your Upper Body: 30-60 seconds
Stand with legs slightly apart. Place your hands on your hips and move your upper body from left to right, then from right to left. Try rotating your upper body clockwise and then counterclockwise. During these movements make sure you only twist from your waist up with soles of the feet remaining flat on the floor.
Jumping Jacks: 30-60 seconds
Nothing gets your entire body warmed up like a set of jumping jacks. Jumping jacks can increase your heart rate and make sure that the heart will start pumping more blood to the muscles, so that you won’t be prone to injuries.
All you have to do is stand tall in a safe area that is conducive for doing exercises. Engage your core while standing with your arms beside you and feet together. Begin by bending your knees slightly and jump out to the sides with each foot while thrusting your arms over your head simultaneously. Quickly, jump back into place and repeat the movement.
Alternating Knee Hug: 30-60 seconds
Stand tall with feet hip-width apart and pull one knee at a time to your chest. Hold the hug for a few seconds before switching legs. During the movements, keep your shoulders back and core tight.
Body Weight Squats: 30-60 seconds
Squats work on your lower body and warm up the muscles from this area. Make sure you do the squats correctly. Hold your hands in front of you or put them at the back of your head. Keeping your back straight, squat down and come back up. Try not to move your hands and upper body while you perform the squats.
Note: Don’t let your knees go beyond your toes.
Lunges (each leg): 5 in number
Forward Leg Swings (each leg): 10 in number
Side Leg Swings (each leg): 10 in number
Shoulder Rotations: 30-60 seconds
Hold your arms straight out to the side, and move your arms in circular motions, making larger circles each time. Clock wise and anti clock wise.
Push-ups: 10-20 in number
And finally, finish with imitating the moves you are about to perform during your workout. In this manner, you will warm up the muscle groups that you will be using.
(i) How Long Should A Warm Up Last: The warm up part before you begin your real workout can be for 5-10 minutes. You can choose any 5-6 warm up exercises from the above list, but make sure to cover all the major muscles of your body.
(ii) In winter, you need to increase the amount of time you spend on warm up exercises. This is due to the colder temperatures and the fact that the muscles are tighter in the winter, so injuries are more common.
(iii) Enjoy warm-up and remember to listen to your body’s cues. Your warm-up should not fatigue you. After all, it’s only one aspect of the workout.