Why Do We Warm Up?

The Warm-Up : Please don’t skip this part. Think of it as foreplay.

A warm up can be two minutes or twenty-five minutes. Depending on your fitness level, your entire exercise routine can be comprised of warm ups for the first month. It is just as effective as lifting weights if you are just getting reacquainted with exercise. People think exercise requires weights. It doesn’t.

Why is warming up necessary?

Elevating your heart rate and activating some sleepy muscles is extremely important. Firstly, an elevated heart rate turns up body temperature and circulates warm oxygenated blood to your muscles and this is necessary for all of the work your routine will ask from your muscles and joints. Without oxygen, it becomes more difficult to make and break down energy. Without energy you could never give your exercise 100%.

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Specificity is key. It is best to warm up the muscles that you plan to load that day’s routine, but also the pattern of movement that you plan to do. You may not do the exact move in the warm up, but break the movement into smaller parts and then make these smaller parts integral parts of the warm up. This is waking up the connection between your mind and your body, aka the motor control needed for accuracy when and if you become fatigued during this routine. Creating muscle memory for movement is crucial for the success of each exercise in every routine.

Do not forget to include some dynamic stretching, particularly in your areas of tightness. For example the classic warm up an inchworm elevates heart rate, engages all muscles of the core and leg, but best of all, is that it allows one to stretch their hamstrings and lower back while stabilizing the shoulders. Many warm up exercises can also be real-time exercises to include in the routine, depending on their intensity, speed, and load. Some examples of this are body weight squats. This is a warm up for some and yet if done fast or explosively is a full on exercise for others.

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