Best warmup for your workout. A few days ago we talked about the why warming up is so necessary for your muscles, which you can read here: How Important Is A Warmup. So now that you are hopefully convinced that warming up is a must, how do you do it and what do you do?
BEST WARMUP FOR YOUR WORKOUT
How long? First, note that warming up is not an option, so suck it up and make time for it. I understand that it can be tempting to skip a warmup if you are pressed for time, but if you do and you wind up hurting yourself then you’ll lose out even more. Aim to spend a solid 5-10 minutes warming up and preparing your muscles for your workout.
A proper warm up should imitate the type of activity you are about to do, but at a lower intensity. Also, it really needs to be a dynamic warmup that gets your heart pumping.
Lower body workouts. For any workout where your legs are the primary focus, for example running or a leg day at the gym, you’ll want to make sure that your legs are ready to go. Walking is always a great and effective option to start. I usually also do a series of jumping jacks just to get my whole body moving. Then you can move into a set of front and side lunges. I also like to include a set of deep, wide leg, turned out squat (or plies in second, for all of you dancers out there). Then I finish things off by doing hip rotations and rolling out on my foam roller.
Since running outdoors is tough on my knees and hips, I’ve become an unapologetic treadmill runner. My warm up is 7 minutes and goes as follows:
5 minutes of incline walking at a fast pace.
2 minutes of lunges and some very very light stretching
Then I build up to my speed over the course of 2 minutes.
Upper body workouts. If your workout is more upper body focused then add some arm swings, arm circles and shoulder rotations into the mix. Also include roll downs to get your spine moving and imitate some of the moves you will be doing in your workout. If, for instance, you will be lifting weights then include some push ups into this mix.
Total body workouts. If you are doing a total body workout or participating in a specific sport then you’ll want to combine all of the above.
5 roll downs with straight legs to articulate your spine
30 seconds Jumping jacks
5 minutes running on the spot (or jumping rope)
10 Lunges to the side and front on each leg
20 Deep wide leg stance squats (turned out legs)
10 push ups (on your knees is just fine)
2 minutes rolling out if you have a foam roller
Since most of us have jobs that are relatively sedentary, remember that these few minutes are your time to mentally and physically prepare yourself for a workout and they should be taken seriously, even though it might be tempting to just jump into a workout. In fact, you should train yourself to think of the warm up as a critical part of you workout instead of something extra. Over the long run, warm-ups will play a huge roll in keeping your body healthy and functioning at an optimal level.
How much time do you take to warmup?