Its Monday morning and you’re running late. You’ve got to be at work on time, but you also need to workout to shake off the grogginess left over from a weekend of tacos and margaritas. You say to yourself, “I’ll just skip my warmup to save myself time, its not like it actually matters.” This is where you and many average gym goers are mistaken.The physiological benefits of a warmup are essentenial to insuring an injury free and productive workout.
In this article we will explore the benefits of a properly conducted warmup and then detail what a proper warmup would look like.
Skeletal muscle accounts for 45-50% of the weight of an ordinary mammal, like a human for example.However, at rest ( that means when you’re not exercising) only 20% of the body’s blood makes its way to muscle. The rest is diverted to maintain the function of the body’s other organs such as the stomach, kidneys, liver, and brain. This is significant because blood with its oxygen carrying hemoglobin, fuels muscular contraction.
A properly executed warmup, first, causes the heart to pump more blood by beating faster and pumping more blood through each beat. Second, each unit of blood contains more oxygen by improving the function of our lungs AND our muscles extract four times as much oxygen from blood than they do in a resting state.Lastly, the body begins to route blood flow differently. Blood flow to skeletal muscles shoots up from 20% to 88% during a bout of exercise!
So what does this mean? If a warmup is well executed it dramatically increases muscular endurance by providing more oxygen for the system, reduces the risk of injury, improves neural connection to the muscles, and makes movements more effiecientand powerful.
Now the question is, how do you activate these amazing adaptations to maximize your productivity.
The process is very simple:
1.Our first goal is to raise our body temperature (Get it? Its called a warmup for a reason.).
2.Next we activate large muscle groups mainly the core and glutes. Firing these muscles stabilizes the body which makes it more mobile and flexible.
3.Once everything is firing properly, we mobilize positions that are going to be expressed during the workout to ingrain neural patterns and ensure proper form and movement during the workout.
Here is a sample warmup:
Jumping jacks x60 seconds
Light Jog x 60 seconds
High Kness x 30 Seconds
Curl up 3x8 each leg
Side plank 3x8 seconds each side
Bird dog 3x8 seconds each side
Side lying clam 3x8 ea side
Table top leg lift 3x8 ea side
Step 3: This is where most of the variation will occur I’ve outlined warmups for both the upper body and lower body depending on what your focus for the workout is.
Neck rolls x5 each side
Shoulder circles (start small get large) 20 seconds
Cobra with a reach 10 reps
Scapular pushups 10 reps
Sky diver holds 10 reps
Toy soldier Kicks 10 reps
Butt Kick 10 reps
Spiderman with rotation 5 reps each side
Lateral squats 5 reps each side
The benefits of spending 10 minutes on a warmup are too numerous to disclude from your workout. To get the most out of your body make sure to warmup everytime.