Do you do a proper warm up before exercise? It’s okay, you be honest with me. I won’t tell a soul…
The truth is most people do not warm up long enough before engaging in exercise. The warm up is the most important part of your routine. A proper warm up will loosen up your joints allowing them to move through their full range of motion thereby lessening your chance of an injury. Plan a good 10 minute of warm up before hitting the weights.
I experienced negative impacts of skipping a workout first hand last Spring. I was rushed for time so I skipped the warm up and headed straight for the weights. I was doing deadlifts with some heavy weights. As I was standing back up I heard a noise and quickly turned to the left. Make a mental note here, this is not a good idea when you have heavy weights in your hands and can be especially dangerous when your muscles aren’t warmed up. As a result I pulled a muscle in my lower back. Ouch! It took a good 6 months to fully recover. Those are 6 months of my life that I will never get back. It’s not worth it.
When you are at the gym it is easy to jump the treadmill, elliptical and bike for a few minutes and yes that is an effective way to warm up your muscles. However it doesn’t address joint mobility. Add in this routine after doing a few minutes of cardio and you will be good to go.
This is also a great warm routine for those of you who workout from home or in the great outdoors. You may not have access to cardio equipment. So you need to get creative and find other ways to warm up your body. This routine the perfect option in that scenario .
Notes on proper technique and form
Shoulder Rolls: Extend your arms out to the side at shoulder height. Move your arms in a circle at a slow and controlled pace.
Ankle Rolls: As you stand on one leg don’t let the hip drop. Keep your body up straight maintaining good posture.
Linear Leg Swings: Swing your leg forward then back looking behind you as the leg comes back. This will allow you to open up your hips even more.
Lateral Leg Swings: Swing the leg out to the side and then back across your body. Keep your hips and shoulders squared off.
Alternating Knee Raises: Lift your right knee up to meet your left elbow alternating sides as you go. This can be done in place or as you walk across the floor.
Body Weight Squats: No weights involved here. Your feet are slightly wider than your shoulders. Your toes squared off facing forward. Start with your arms by your side. As you lower into the squat raise your arms forward lifting them to shoulder height. Once you are in the squat position make sure you keep the weight of your body in your heels. Helpful hint: keeping the arms flexed to make this a total body exercise.
Jumping Jacks: We all know how to do jumping jacks but here are some tips to get the most bang for your buck. At your starting point your legs should be hip with apart, no closer. This will keep the leg muscles engaged. As you bring your arms up keep them slightly in front of you. as with the body weight squats keep them flexed to make this a total body exercise.
Remember that stretching after your workout is just as important as a good warm up. When done properly, there are many benefits to stretching. Leave yourself 10-15 minutes to stretch after a workout.
How do you warm your body up before exercise?
DISCLAIMER: I am a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and group fitness instructor. I am not a doctor, registered dietitian, certified nutritionist or physical therapist. You should always be mindful of any injuries, food allergies, special diets or specific health conditions that pertain to you.As fitness professional I recommend that you consult your doctor before taking on any significant changes pertaining to health, nutrition and exercise.
DISCLOSURE: Much of the form and technique I used to creat this warm up was inspired by what I learned in the Corpbasis’ Instructor trainer program.