By Coach Chris Collins, CPT
It’s time to get excited about warming up. If you’ve been in recently, you know we’ve instituted new dynamic warmups to go along with our semi-private and team training sessions. Along with preventing injury and increasing core temperature, a proper warmup includes numerous other benefits, including mental preparation and increased performance. Let’s reexamine the warmup’s role in the overall fitness regimen before we just can’t stand it.
Now, while no one is going to burst out of the gym and post their warmup exploits (look at my range of motion on this foam roller!!! #foamrollerlife) in reality the importance of warming up cannot be overstated.
First on the list of benefits is injury prevention. Warming up increases blood flow to your body’s muscles, which makes them more pliable and capable of a wider range of motion. That process alone is huge. Along with pliability, increased core temperature means a more efficient caloric-burning state. You could be sacrificing the amount of calories you’ll eventually burn by jumping right into your workout without warming up.
Mental preparation. Ever think to yourself, “I’m not feeling the gym today. I’m exhausted and am feeling the couch instead. Plus, the Cats play at 8.” While at those times, an intense workout is as foreign as Cal switching to zone, putting yourself through the process of a prescribed warmup can allow your mental state to “catch up” with what you want to put your body through.
Come on, brain. Stop dogging it!
While warming up always use controlled tempo. You want to be fluid. Don’t build up momentum trying to stretch, flex or extend farther than you can under a natural rhythm.
Breathe thoroughly. Quality of oxygen is important. Try to access that nutrient-rich oxygen found deep in the lungs by breathing diaphragmatically. Get away from shallow chest-breathing, which does nothing to offset the rounded shoulder posture found in modern-day living.
The warmup. It doesn’t get the accolades the more heavy, multi-joint, load-bearing exercises get, but if you include it in your workout you’re less like to get injured and have subpar workouts, and what’s not exciting about that? Whew!