Improve your Warm-Up
Most people skip the warm-up when they work out. After all, you only have so much time to exercise—“Let’s just get on with it already! I’m in a hurry!”
But warming up is a critical component of your fitness routine, and skipping it could have unpleasant and dangerous results, such as muscle strain, injury, and pain.
Oh yeah, and a proper warm-up will IMPROVE your workout performance! I’ve written about the importance of the warm-up and cooldown. This post gives you more in-depth reasoning to stay for the warm-up. Check it out here
The Warm-up: Basics
A warm-up is a short workout at the beginning of your exercise session. It is generally low intensity and prepares your body for the upcoming exertion.
The purpose of a traditional warm-up is to increase your heart rate slightly. This increases the blood flow in your muscles and raises your core body temperature. Muscles and other connective tissues have less stretch when they are cold. A warm-up session warms and relaxes them, making them more supple and ready to work.
You will be more susceptible to sprained muscles, cramps, and injury without a warm-up. Ultimately, these effects could keep you from exercising for an extended period as you recover, which is not conducive to your desired healthy lifestyle.
It takes about three minutes for your body to recognize the need for more blood flow to your muscles, so the ideal warm-up time is between five and ten minutes.
There is no set prescription for what your warm-up should consist of. You can choose a set of preparatory exercises (such as squats, lunges, toe touches, etc.) or do a light-intensity version of your upcoming workout (a brisk walk to prepare for a run, for example, or lifting light weights before increasing the load).
The Warm-up: Advanced Strategy
Now with all that being said about a “basic” warm-up, let me share with you how I prepare myself, as well as one-to-one clients and workouts in the FaithFueled Life App.
For long-term health and fitness combined with your weight loss training efforts, it’s imperative to understand that a proper warm-up is about more than just “warming up the body.” It’s about preparing the body for an all-out training assault to boost your metabolism.
Therefore, we look at the warm-up as a Preparation Phase for the workout. Through research and practical experience, we’ve determined that the best results are typically seen when an exercise prep routine incorporates three key components:
- Tissue Status
- Corrective Exercise
- Mobility & Activation
The results of chronic joint pain or overuse injury are impacted by tightness and restrictions in the muscles above and below the joint in question. In other words, it’s not about PAIN SITE… it’s about PAIN SOURCE!
Restrictions in the tissue of your calves and front/inner/outer thighs often cause knee pain. Conditions in your glutes and hamstrings often cause back pain. Shoulder pain is often caused by restrictions in your thoracic spine (T-Spine), chest, and lats.
Tissue quality describes the general health of your muscles and the interconnected web of fascia that surrounds them all. Over time, we develop scar tissue, adhesions, trigger points, and knots in muscles caused by extended periods of high-intensity training, overuse, and extended periods of sitting.
The best way to address this is to self-massage sore, tight, and restricted body muscle groups to regenerate tissue pre- and post-workout to promote injury reduction and allow for a smoother, more productive workout. In addition, self-massage before stretching allows for a better, more complete stretch by smoothing out the knots. It would help if you always preceded flexibility work with tissue quality for best results. Massage is one of those counter-intuitive things whereby you are actively searching for pain. It’s the only time ever to do so regarding proper training.
The best analogy I can give you is this:
If it hurts that much when you put pressure on your muscles, imagine how bad your joints must feel!
We all have unique “issues” with our body mechanics and functional movement capabilities. For some, it’s a lack of flexibility; for others, there may be a balance or mobility issue. Perhaps there’s an asymmetry – one side is significantly “stronger” than the other, leading to muscular imbalances, postural distortions, and overcompensation injuries. You can discover your corrective needs through a movement screen like the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).
The FMS is a ranking and grading system that captures movement patterns essential to normal function. Through assessment and screening, the FMS classifies the limitations and asymmetries in clients. This limitation will reduce the effects of functional training and physical conditioning and distort body awareness.
The FMS assessment creates an FMS Score to address the problem and track progression. The score helps build a movement plan to mechanically restore the functional movement pattern.
Professionals use this information to help their clients achieve their goals. To identify those exercises that will be most effective in restoring proper movement and building strength in each individual.
So, in a nutshell, the FMS is designed to
- Identify functional limitations and asymmetries which to help reduce injury risk.
- Help fitness professionals create a movement plant to help restore functional movement and build stability, mobility, and strength in their clients.
It’s about so much more than jumping jacks and squats. A movement plan that helps you move better as a warm-up.
Mobility & Activation
More than just a typical warm-up is movement prep, which includes mobility and activation exercises you can circuit through to prepare your body for the movement of the workout.
Mobility is the ability of a joint to reach the full range of motion. Though mobility relies on flexibility, strength, stability, and neuromuscular control, exercise must address proper movement. Activation is often paired with mobility because many mobility exercises activate the key, often dormant, pillar stabilizers in your hips, core, and shoulders.
More Than Just a Warm-up
So, as you can see, a warm-up is much more than just a warm-up when you’re training smarter for long-term health, fitness, and goals to honor your temple.
Think twice before you skip the “warm-up” in your next workout…in the FaithFueled Life App workout! I walk you through a home or gym warm-up to get you off to a great start!
Wouldn’t it be great to be taught the how and the why of exercise by a fitness professional who wants to see you thrive?
Join us on the FaithFueled Life app?
If you would like to set-up a goal consult for 1 to 1 Coaching. Fill out the application and book a 30-minute Goal Consult call and assessment.