The Necessity of Warm Up Exercises

warm up exercisesDon't think it's a waste of time. Doing warm up exercises is always a must.

Whatever type of workout or sport you are going to do, a workout warm up is like a basic rule, but from what I can see people often skip that phase.

I see new guys at the gym and they start with their warm up exercises for the first 3 or 4 workouts, and then...done.

Yeah, it seems that very few can do it regularly. Maybe it's because they try to fit too many exercises in their routine and it takes them forever, so an easy "solution" is to start cutting the unnecessary.

Or what they think is unnecessary.

There Are Two Types of Warm Up Exercises

Workout warm up can be divided into two types depending on the circumstances:

  • Initial warm up
  • Exercise-specific warm up

Initial Warm Up

You do warm up exercises to prepare for your workout, generally speaking. It is a whole body warm up and you don't focus on specific muscles in preparation for an isolation exercise.

It should take 15-20 minutes with warm up exercises such as stretching, running etc. to prepare you from a mental and physiological point of view.

Initial warm up exercises have of course some important purposes:

  • The increase of body temperature prevents injuries.
  • A higher heart rate prepares the cardio vascular system for a more intense workout.
  • Stretching exercises increase muscle flexibility, thus less muscle tension and prepare you for a safer workout.

If you do a proper initial warm up there's no mistake, you should be sweating at the end.

To be clear, the initial warm up should be a 15-20 min combination of running/cycling and stretching to prepare you for the specific warm up for each exercise.

Targeted Warm Up

You may hear different opinions about warm up exercises before each muscle group.

This is what I think is the best approach:

  • Do some stretching of the muscles you're going to work out (but only after the initial warm up. Do not try to stretch cold muscles!).
  • Depending on how many sets & reps you are going to perform, do at least one set of 10 reps with 50% of the load. More specifically:
    • 1 set of 10 reps with 50% of the load if you're going to perform 3 sets of at least 10 reps each.
    • 1 set of 10 reps with 40% of the load and 1 set with 60% of the load, if you do sets of 6-8 reps.
  • Some heavy duty exercises like squat require more warm up than others, just because you're going to work out big muscles that just take longer to warm and be ready for training.
stretching exercises

Stretching exercises are recommended after the initial warm up, before each exercises in your routine

Don't worry about getting tired already before you start the first set. If you use a lighter load and if you warmed up properly, you should just feel more energy when it's time to begin the real sets.

And remember, most injuries at the gym happen because people don't do enough workout warm up, and end up straining muscles.

That usually forces you to avoid the gym for weeks before the muscles are properly healed, and by that time you lost "momentum".

Going back to the gym after weeks is kinda depressing to me because I never meet my expectations.

I can maybe lift 70% (at the most) of the weight I could lift before so...save yourself injuries and frustration, and do you warm up exercises.

 

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