By Dan Piper, Certified Personal Trainer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Workout4Results.com
A proper warm up, correctly performed before each and every workout is as essential to your fitness success as the workout itself, and your nutrition. In a previous post, I mentioned that in our 40s and beyond, we should spend as much as 20 minutes of our workout stretching – and dynamic stretching (the type that we do while in movement ie. during a warm up) is definitely a part of this! The main reasons for warming up properly are to prevent injury and to increase performance. There are neurological changes happening during our warm up that prepare us for exercise, as well as physical changes. While synovial fluid is brought to our joints to lubricate them, and our body temperature increases along with blood flow and pressure, nerve to muscle pathways are being readied, preparing us both physically and neurologically for exercise.
There are many ways to warm up, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Below is what I would include in a complete 10 minute warm up routine.
*Unloaded squats or lunges
*Unloaded or lightly loaded movements using all of your joints.
*knee circles, hip circles
*I like to use two 5lb dumbells and do a double squating overhead press with perfect form. This is mildly physically challenging, while working every joint in the body. Even athletes I have with physical limitations can handle this one, and it tends to warm us up quickly
*The Bear Crawl. This one is great for folks with a moderate level of fitness, but not for beginners. It gets our body temperature up, and spreads the load across all of our joints. It’s better for those with low BMI and high upper bodily strength.
-Arm circles. I’ve found that we can really warm up the shoulders effectively with arm circles. I’ve noticed that the shoulder is injured more than any other body part in the gym, due to it’s complexity.
By taking the time and including the above exercises into your warm up, you will greatly improve the quality, intensity, and performance during your routines, as well as your recovery time.