How Warm is Warm Enough? Why, What and How YOU Need to Warm Up.
We've all been there: you've just walked inside your gym. Maybe it was a struggle to get there. Maybe you're in a time crunch. Maybe you're just eager to get cruisin' and bruisin'. Regardless, we all know it's true: your warmup is the first thing to go. CUT IT AND GUT IT, amirite?
No, I most definitely am not. TEAM CK, it's time we re-assess our priorities. Re-evaluate the warmup. and Re-ignite our appreciation for those first 5-10 minutes of movement. Need convincing?
Here’s WHY, WHAT and HOW you should be doing your warmup.
When we skip or skimp the warmup, we put ourselves at risk of injury. Here’s some perspective for you: 8 minutes of warming up is a much shorter wait to work out than years of injury rehab.
Warming up before a workout (your WHY):
- Prevents injury by increasing blood flow and flexibility, ensuring your muscles are warm, prepared to work and well oxygenated.
- Dilates your blood vessels, raising your muscles’ temperature to be as efficient and flexible as possible.
- Prepares your mind for your workout, allowing time to get in the zone, focus and visualize.
- Maximizes your body’s efficiency of the movements specific to your workout.
In other words, it preps your BODY and your MIND so you perform as best as possible, getting the most out of your workout. And who wouldn’t want that? The time commitment is a small barrier to a slew of positive ripple effects.
Now the question becomes, do you find yourself doing the same warmup or performing random movements day over day regardless of your workout? Tisk, tisk. To be efficient, be deliberate!
An effective and well-designed warmup will consist of 3 main parts (your WHAT):
- DENSITY: think foam rolling, mobility balls, and other forms of myofascial release. Break up those knots, loosen tight spots and improve your mobility and quality of movement.
- LENGTH: bet you couldn’t guess this means stretching. Static stretching before a workout is a little controversial, but follow it up with dynamic movements and your nervous system will be primed and ready. These stretches will help combat corrective needs or postural issues and are worth including in your warmup.
- READINESS: last step, GET YOUR CHILI HOT. Prep your nervous system and muscles to be explosive and WORK. Here’s where you’ll perform dynamic stretches and movements that prime your body for the day’s specific workout. Here’s where you want to sweat. Get your mobility, stability and balance turned all the way up. Think of this stage as your body’s rehearsal for your workout.
Okay, that’s all well and good. Now, HOW do I implement that into my own warm ups? Glad you asked.
- You’ve got tight spots. Foam roll, grab the thera-cane, whatever tool you choose to iron out those knots. This is your soft tissue treatment. Don’t over-do it; give each spot 30-60 seconds before moving on or you’ll be here all day.
- You’ve got immobile spots. Pick area-specific stretches to target your weaknesses. Tight t-spine? Shoulders? Ankles? Address these, but again, don’t over-do it. Give each area 30-60 seconds before moving on.
- Time to get moving. Heat your body up. Look at your workout and warm up the large muscle groups that you’ll be using with dynamic stretches and movements that mimic the work to prime your body and nervous system for the main event.
There you have it in 1, 2, 3. Overall, your warmup should be around 10 minutes, give or take. It can be hard to prioritize when you’re feeling unmotivated or low on time, but we promise, it’s worth the attention. Your workout and your body will thank you. Keep moving!