What are warm ups
Warm ups are physical activities prior to exercise activities or athletic performances. Warm ups are important because they help prepare the body for exercise and physical performances. Unfortunately far too often are warm ups neglected which is a shame since there are many benefits to warming up.
Warm ups benefit those who are looking to get into shape and to the veteran exerciser and everyone in between, anyone and everyone can benefit from warming up.
During warm ups there are many changes the body goes through as it readies for activity. The benefits you first feel and experience from warming up would be an increase of cardiorespiratory ability which leads to less stress on the heart and lungs. Warming up also leads to an increase in body temperature, when at a higher body temperature blood cells rapidly release more oxygen. During the warm up Blood flows to active muscles which aid in the prevention of premature fatigue and also slows down the build up of lactic acid as well as feeds nutrients to active muscles. Other important benefits are the lubrication of the joints and enhancing motor skills which all aid in enhancing movement. One of the most important benefit to warming up is that it also helps the body to become more resistant against injury.
Now that we understand the importance and benefits of warming up prior to physical activity, the next question is how do we warm up effectively?
General Warm up:
Warm ups should last for about 5 to 8 minutes or until you feel adequately warmed up.
For the initial warm up start with something that will get the blood pumping and raise the body temperature up such as walking, jogging and etc. Activities should be moderate and not take too much energy or tire you out, remember this is just a warmup.
Full Body Dynamic Stretch:
Over the years there has been conflicting advice on how to stretch. Some argue that stretching prior to exercising can be detrimental your workouts and can weaken and cause poor performance. The problem is not that stretching is bad prior to exercise but what kind of stretching you are doing prior to physical activity. There are static stretches and dynamic stretches. Static stretching is when you hold a position for several seconds to stretch your muscles. While dynamic stretching is stretching the muscles through movement. Dynamic stretches are useful prior to physical activity while static stretches are beneficial after physical activity. The benefits of dynamic stretching is that it helps in improve blood flow through out the body, increases flexibility and range of motion and helps the body prepare for physical activity.
Here is a routine for a full body dynamic stretch to help increase performance. Spend at least 10 -30 seconds for each performing each stretch.
Neck Rotations –
Muscles Targeted: Neck and shoulders
1. Can be completed either from sitting or standing up
2. lower your chin down close to your chest
3. Rotate your head and tilt it far right
4. Now rotate your head towards the back
5. Finish by now rotating your head and tilting it far left
7. Same as above but now do them in the reverse direction
Arm Circles –
Muscles Targeted: Shoulders and traps
1. Can be completed either sitting or standing up.
2. Raise your arms from your side parallel to the floor
3. Slowly make small circles with your arms and gradually grow them larger and larger.
4. Same as above but now do them in the reverse direction.
Chest Stretch –
Muscles Targeted: Chest and middle back
2. Clench both Fist and slightly bend your elbows
3. Swing arms forward until you form an X with your forearms
4. Afterward swing arms back while bringing your chest forward. When swinging back swing only when comfortable stretch in the chest area.
Hip rotations –
Muscles Targeted: Abductors, adductors and hamstrings
2. Stand with your feet shoulders width apart
3. Place your hands on your waist
4. Slowly with your hip area make as big circular motion as possible
5. Same as above but now do them in the reverse direction.
Knee rotations –
2. Stand with your feet close together
3. Place your hands on top of your knees
4. Slowly with your knees move them in a circular motion as
far as possible similar to the hip rotation but with your knees
5. Same as above but now do them in the reverse direction
Body weight Squats –
Muscles Targeted: Quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings
2. Stand with your feet shoulders width apart and have your toes pointed a little bit out
3. Place your hands behind your head
4. Slowly descend by pushing your hips back and bending your knees
also make sure your knees track to where your toes are pointed
5. Continue until your thighs reach parallel to the floor
6. Now rise back to the starting position and continue
Muscles Targeted: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves
2. Place your hands on your waist
3. Take a large step forward and bend your back knee until it nearly touches the floor
4. Now push off with your front leg back right back into the starting position
5. Same directions as above but now alternate with the other leg
Activity specific warm up:
Now that your body is adequately warmed up. Do some light exercises similar to to your main activity. For example if your main exercise is bench pressing, do some light weight bench press for 1 set or 2 for 10 reps.
About the author:
Billie is a Personal Trainer from the San Jose area. The mission of FinesseFit is to help others burn body fat, tone bodies and help others achieve a healthier life. For more information and fitness tips you can visit FinesseFit.
- 5 Simple Stretches To Boost Your Energy At Your Office Desk (lifehack.org)
- Sit up straight: five of the best posture exercises (theguardian.com)