A passion for all things health and fitness!
Today’s post is a little long, but, I promise, it’s worth the read!
We’ve talked about the benefits of a warm-up before a workout.
Increased heart and respiratory rate. Why is this beneficial? Increases blood flow to active muscles, and increases the cardiorespiratory system’s capacity to perform the work.
Increased tissue temperature. Why is this beneficial? Increases muscle efficiency, flexibility, metabolic rate and rate of muscle contraction.
Increased mental readiness for exercise. Why is this beneficial? Gets your head in the game.
Now, let’s go into more detail of how to effectively and safely prepare your body [and mind] for a workout.
There is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of the different types of stretching exercises and the types you should or should not use.
Should you warm-up before a workout? Yes.
What type of warm up exercises should you do? Like almost everything with fitness, the answer is, it depends.
To better experience the benefits of warming up with stretching exercises variety of techniques should be used based on the activity to be performed, individual fitness level and needs.
A properly performed warm-up before a workout is important with the goal of preparing the athlete mentally and physically for the demands that will be placed on the body during a workout. The objectives of a warm-up are to increase heart rate, blood flow, internal temperatures of the muscles, and respiration rate.
Types of Warm-Up Exercises
Self-Myofascial Release (aka Foam Rolling)
- Used to help correct muscle imbalances and reduce trigger points within the muscle.
- Recommended to be performed before stretching.
- Find a tender spot and hold for about at least 30 seconds until the discomfort is reduced.
- Taking a muscle to the point of tension and holding.
- Used to lengthen tight muscles.
- Perform 1-3 sets holding each stretch 30 seconds.
Active Isolated Stretching*
- Target muscles to optimally lengthen without triggering the protective stretch reflex, which causes the muscle to recoil in at attempt to prevent, being over stretched.
- Muscles will exhibit a greater range of motion over the course of each set of stretching repeats.
- Perform 1-2 sets. Hold a stretch for one to two seconds, relax, and then repeat the movement for 5 to 10 times exhaling on the stretch and inhaling on the release.
- Continuously moving a muscle through full available range of motion to activate muscles, improve range of motion and body awareness.
- Perform 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 exercises with 10 to 15 repetitions.
DON’T SKIP THE WARM-UP BEFORE YOU WORKOUT. IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU GRADUALLY WORK YOUR WAY UP TO MORE INTENSE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
A proper warm-up should take the body through full ranges of motion while establishing proper neuromuscular firing patterns and give mechanical advantage to improve performance.
Warm up your entire body at home with these dynamic warm up exercises. Raise your heart rate and prepare your body and joints for the workout to follow.
*A Note About Stretching
If stretching exercises are part of your workout routine, it’s best to do them after the warm-up or cool-down phase, when your muscles are already warm.
Right click the image above to save to your mobile device or download the workout to print.
I am a certified personal trainer, but this workout was not created for your specific fitness level and needs. Make modifications as needed. Intensity and rest periods should be based on your individual fitness level. See your physician before beginning any exercise program. This web site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician.
Jumping Jacks (1) Stand with your feet together and your hands down by your side. (2) In one motion jump your feet out to the side and raise your arms above your head. (3) Immediately reverse that motion by jumping back to the starting position. Keep your pace as fast as possible. Targets: cardiorespiratory system, total body warm up
Large Arm Circles (1) Stand holding your arms straight out to your sides, parallel to the floor slightly lower than shoulder height. (2) Moving through complete range of motion, start by making small circles with your arms progressing to bigger circles (windmill your arms). (3) Do the prescribed number of reps forward and the prescribed number of reps backwards. Targets: shoulders, upper back
Prisoner Squat (1) Stand with your feet hip width apart and back naturally arched. Brace your core throughout the entire exercise. (2) Place your fingers on the back of your head as if you were going to do a crunch. Keep your elbows and shoulders back, weight in your heels and eyes focused straight ahead. (3) Lower your body as far as you can (or until thighs are parallel to the floor) by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. (4) Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position. Targets: quads, core, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
Butt Kicks (1) Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead and placed shoulder-width apart. (2) Contract your glutes, jump up and bring your heel to your butt, being careful not to arch your back. (3) Land softly and repeat with control. Keep your pace as fast as possible. Targets: cardiorespiratory system, glute max, hamstrings
Back To Front Leg Swing (1) Stand tall and hold on to a steady object with your left hand. (2) Keeping your right knee nearly straight, swing your right leg backward as high as you comfortably can. (3) Then, swing your right leg forward as far as you comfortably can. One rep is a swing forward and backward. (4) Swing back and forth continuously for the prescribe reps or amount of time. Remember: Keep your torso upright throughout the entire movement. Targets: hamstrings, glutes, hips
Side-to-Side Leg Swing (1) Stand tall holding on to a sturdy object with both hands (if needed for balance). (2) Keeping your right knee straight, swing your right leg out to the side as high as you comfortably can. (3) Swing your leg back toward your body so that it crosses in front of your left leg. That’s one rep. (4) Swing back and forth continuously for prescribed amount of time or reps. (5) Repeat with the left leg. Targets: hip adductors, outer hips
Wait. Before you go I have exciting news!
I love blogging communities and health and fitness communities. Now I have the best of both worlds.
The Healthy Living Blogging Boost Facebook group has launched!
For the past few months, two blogging friends, Glenneth at Your Path To Fit and Kailya at Healthy Helper Blog, and I have created a blogging support group for healthy living bloggers. Our vision and purpose is to create a place that provides support, conversations, information and sharing for the members. There are be daily threads for bloggers to share links to their health and fitness blog posts and social media, advice on blogging and promoting your content, and support for each other in all things blogging or whatever else we might need.
Growing my blog with 2 specific social media is one of my blogging goals for 2016. I started being an active participant in a few different Facebook blogging support groups and I’ve seen an increase in traffic and I’ve have enjoyed the support and the conversations about growing your blog. Members can participate in as few or as many as they want each day. All we ask if that if they participate in a thread, they reciprocate fully. Threads go up at 4AM each morning and members have until 9PM the following day to complete the task. If you have any question email me at email@example.com or use the contact tab in the menu bar above.
Wouldn’t you love a place to share your posts and chat about all things blogging? You can read more about the group here or go to the group page and request to join. After you’re approved you can start sharing your posts and supporting the other members.
We’re looking forward to having you in the group!
I would love to chat:
Do you tend to skip the warm-up? Of the different types of warm-ups, which one do you use most often? Have you ever used a combination of the different types?
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