Ok, hands up who can honestly say that, before you begin any form of workout, exercise, or physical activity in general, that you set aside 5 – 10 minutes to properly stretch and warm up properly? If you’re being honest, there won’t be too many of you as generally speaking, as soon as people walk into the gym, they immediately begin their workouts right away. Sure, they may take the time to perform a few half-hearted stretches, or maybe even bending over to touch their toes, but for the most part, people just don’t seem to bother. Whilst warming up may seem boring and tedious, it is absolutely essential and it offers you a whole host of benefits in the process. To begin with, warming up helps to ensure you protect yourself against injury, as warming up can help you to stretch your muscles and improve muscle elasticity, making it less likely for you to suffer from cramp, pulled muscles, or even full muscle tears. On top of that, warming up helps improve your circulation and blood flow, meaning that more oxygen and nutrients can be carried around your body in your bloodstream, which will help to increase your aerobic output and athletic performance in general. As if that wasn’t enough, it can also get you into the right frame of mind, can get adrenalin pumping and endorphins flowing, so you’re then able to attack your workouts with a renewed vigour. If you’re struggling for ideas of how to properly warm up, take a look at the following, as we provide you with several productive and enjoyable methods of warming up, which all take less than 10 minutes on average.
Ride the stationary bike
If you’re hitting the gym, before you even think about picking up a weight, take the time to hop on the stationary bike, and perform a quick 10 minute warm up. The idea here is that you are warming up, so you are not approaching it like a cardio workout at all. This means you should go at a slow and steady pace, that gradually raises your heart rate and your core body temperature. You shouldn’t feel tired or out of breath, but what you should feel, is looser, more alert, and more focussed. Riding the stationary bike will help get your blood flowing, it will boost your circulation, and it will help loosen up your muscles, especially those in your legs. If you’re training legs, starting with a quick warm-up on the stationary bike is a great way of getting the legs ready for the punishment you’re about to put them through.
Perform the ‘world’s greatest stretch’
This stretch is actually called ‘the world’s greatest stretch’ so as you can probably gather, it is pretty special. The stretch itself has Yoga origins, and it is absolutely fantastic for anybody looking to boost their core strength, their flexibility, and their mental focus in the process. The stretch works in three parts, as it begins with a lunging motion, followed by you placing your palms on the ground, finished off by you placing both palms on your front foot, where you will then bring your toes up off the ground, before straightening your leg. Some people may need to reposition their back leg as it can be tricky. It is tough to explain, so it is best to look the stretch up online, and see exactly what it is that you have to do.
Make use of medicine balls
Medicine balls aren’t just designed to be thrown at boxer’s abdomens as they perform sit-ups in preparation for a big fight, they actually serve a wide range of other purposes. In terms of warming up, medicine balls are absolutely fantastic, yet for some reason, people generally tend to ignore them. If you’re looking for an exciting and effective method of warming up, make sure to make use of medicine balls, as you can perform exercises such as:
• Cross body chops
• Rotational twists
• Around the worlds
• Figure eights
• Push presses
• And more…
Perform dynamic movements
Dynamic movements are also very useful and beneficial for when it comes to warming up, and they certainly don’t need to be left for during your main training session. Dynamic movements increase your core body temperature, they help to loosen the muscles and joints, they boost circulation, and they help get you into the right frame of mind to train. Popular examples of exercises include: arm circles, walking lunges, lateral squats, and hand walks. Combine these with linear steps and you have a fantastic warm-up routine, all of which can be completed in less than 10 minutes.
Jumping rope, whilst being great for coordination and cardio, is also fantastic for warming up before a big training session as well. There is nothing fancy or complex required here, as many experts and officials simply recommend following a moderate/brisk tempo, and simply jumping rope consecutively for around 5 minutes. For people looking to get their core body temperature up, and their heart rate up in the process, a simple 5 minute jump rope session will work an absolute treat. Obviously you can do slightly more, or slightly less, depending on your ability, but generally, 5 minutes is ideal.
Use swinging motions
For helping to really loosen up the joints and muscles, swinging motions are ideal. You see, your joints and muscles are just like rubber bands, and when cold, they’re pulled much tighter, which means they’ll be more likely to snap. By warming them up however, they become looser, more flexible, and stronger as well. Simple arm circles, leg swings, arm swings, and cross body leg swings will all work very well. Aim to mix and match exercises, with 1 working set of 10 – 12 reps per arm/leg being more than adequate.