A Complete warmup is a essential aspect of any strength, fitness, or sport program! Simply putting on a sweater or riding a bike or jogging for a couple minutes is not enough to prepare you for physical activity.
So what does a proper warm up look like then?
At the very least a warmup should be 10 minutes and include more then just cardio. Let me take you through a 5-step warm-up routine that will get you ready to go pick up and put down heavy things, or partake in interval training or what ever you are doing to stay fit!
Step One: Cardio
The goal of cardio is to elevate your heart rate and body temperature. This will allow your muscle to loosen and become more pliable. The Cardio aspect of the warm-up can be done on a variety of machines or locations. In sport sticking to your main method of locomotion , will better prepare you for your activity. For example if you are playing basketball going for a jog or if you are rowing use a Concept 2 rower or boat on the water. This gets the blood flowing to the muscles that you will be using! The length of cardio is dependent on what your workout is and and your fitness level. A marathoner warm up could be a 5km jog, and a novice weight lifter may walk for 5 minutes. The intensity of the warm up should start low and slowly build to a comfortable level where you are sweating but not gasping for air (that’s what the workouts for).
Step 2: General Myofascial Stretch routine:
This is my clients FAVORITE!! The most common practice of myofascial stretch is Foam Rolling. Essentially you want to roll over all your major muscle groups with a foam roller in the natural direction of your muscle striation until you find the golden spot!!! Oh you’ll know when you find it! When you get to this spot spend a little extra time working that area out! The best way to do this is to hit that knot from all directions to break up that fascia buildup!! It’s painful but worth it. you can also use a lacrosse ball, tennis ball or golf ball
Here is an example of my full body routine:
- IT Bands
- Lower Back (erectors on each side of spine)
- Upper Back (lats, and traps)
You want to spend more time on the areas that are:
A) Extremely tight
B) That will affect your exercise’s movement!
Step 3: General Dynamic Movements:
First off, it is important that you perform dynamic stretching not static before a workout!! A dynamic stretch is one that uses momentum to take the muscle through the range of motion without holding a position. Static stretching is lengthening a muscle and holding the position at the end range. The goal of dynamic stretching is to prime the muscle for your activity. It lengthens the muscle to an optimal state for you to perform at! Static stretching takes the muscle beyond your optimal state. The general warm-up reaches all major muscle groups making sure that your entire body is warm. I like to start from head and work my way down to my feet.
Step 4: Specific Dynamic Warm Up:
Essential in priming your body for your workout. For example, if I were running a lot or doing a leg day with a focus on squatting, spending a lot of time on my peck’s out would not benefit. Instead if I were to focus on glute activation drills and hip mobility, the muscles that I will be using are going to wake up and prepare me for specific ranges of motion.
Step 5: Warm-up sets of exercises
It is extremely important that you start easy and work your way up to your workout weight or running speed. For weight lifters you should start off with body weight or a bar and increase the weight over 2-3 sets to get ready for your workout weight. For runners start off with a slow excel and slowly build to prime your muscles
Hope you found this helpful if you have any questions feel free to comment below 🙂
BA Specialized Honours Kinesiology
NCCP Club Sprint/Hurdles Coach