Updated: Aug 5, 2020
I know you’ve heard of the importance of warming up your body before working out. As we get older, I think the warm-up and cool-down sections are probably the most important parts of our workouts. Back in the day, I would warm-up on the treadmill for 3-5 minutes before hitting the weights. I may add a few shoulder rolls and knee bends but all in all, not the best warm-up for heavy lifting. The warm-up section of a workout is important because it will
-gradually increase blood flow to your major muscle groups
-help lubricate your joints (you don’t want to start your workouts stiff)
-let your body know that you're getting ready to do some serious working out
-provide an opportunity to get into a positive mental space before your workout
Over the years of teaching classes, taking classes, and receiving personal training, I've picked up some tips on how to achieve a quality warm-up. Here they are:
Move your joints through their full range of motion. Performing shoulder rolls is a good example. Your rolls may start off small, but as you get warmer in your joints you should try to gradually increase your range of motion by increasing the size of your rolls.
Perform dynamic movements. This is a good way to increase your core body temperature and to prepare your body for the movements ahead. For example, if you have high knees in your workout you can do a low-impact high knee march in your warm-up. If you're lifting weights, a good dynamic warm-up movement is slowly touching your toes then rolling all the way up and repeating the movement. This move will warm-up your posterior chain and you will get a nice stretch in your hamstrings - muscles used in lower body exercises like deadlifts.
Practice movement patterns that you will do in your workout. This is similar to the tip above but I wanted to add this to remind you that in our workouts we may do exercises that require moving in different planes - forward, back, horizontally, and up and down. Keep this in mind and include exercises in your warm-up that involve different planes of motion (e.g. wide steps side-to-side) so your body is ready when it’s time to change the direction of the movement in your workout.
If you’re looking for solid warm-ups and workouts please join me at my Bodyweight Bootcamp, starting June 24, or my 6-week BootDance intensive, starting June 27. For more information visit ghanagirl.ca.