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How To Get The Most From Your Warm-Up

After you take your pre-workout supplement and before you hit the gym hard, you should always warm up. Never skip your warm-up. No matter how rushed you are, don’t to it. Spending 10 or 15 minutes preparing your body by loosening up your muscles, joints, and ligaments can help you avoid injury and lead to better lifts.

As far as timing goes, aim for 10 or so minutes to start. However, that’s a ballpark figure. Your body knows when you’re ready to ramp things up. If you don’t feel ready, you’re not. Take a few more minutes and then reassess.

#1. A Quick Stretch

Static stretches should be performed post-workout, but a quick stretch beforehand can alert you to body parts that are tender or injured. Knowing these things can help you stave off injury, as well as clue you in on what to do or avoid during and after your training session.

#2. Aerobic Warm-up

Whether you jog on a treadmill, pedal a stationary bike, or hustle around a track, your ultimate goal should be to break a light sweat. If you’re drenched or tired after your aerobic warm-up, you’re exerting too much energy — energy that would better be used during working sets.

#3. Foam Roll

Use a SMR [self-myofascial release] foam roller after your aerobic warm-up. Foam rollers can increase blood flow, circulation and lubricate the area. Spend up to a minute ironing out kinks in areas that feel tight and that will be activated during your lifts.

#4. Dynamic Warm-Up

Also called an active warm-up, a dynamic warm-up raises your body temperature, improves muscle elasticity, and increases your range of motion. Things like butt kicks, high knees, battle ropes, body rotations, and jump squats can all be part of a dynamic warm-up. The idea is not only to warm up the main muscle movers —— the muscles, joints, and ligaments you’ll use for specific exercises — but also the muscles, joints, and ligaments that will be recruited to support the main muscle movers.

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