What’s in a Warm Up?
Want to improve in the gym? Begin with your warm up. It might not be the most exciting part of your workout, but maaaaaaan does a good warm-up go a long ways!
While there isn’t one perfect routine to perform before every workout, there are some principles you can follow to make the most of the 15 or so minutes before you begin.
The most important part of your pre-workout routine may seem obvious, but it’s also easy to overthink: get sweaty. If your body temperature is up to the point that you’ve got a good sweat going, you’ll be moving about as well as you can hope for given the time constraints of a class. “Warm it up, Kane.”
Don’t be so quick to shed your layers. Especially in the winter, keep those sweats on throughout the warm-up. Those extra layers will only help you get going more quickly. Remember that the goal of the warm-up is to get sweaty. Don’t start trying to cool off at the first sign of a little warmth!
Save the in-depth mobility sessions for later in the day! A little light stretching after you’re warm can be helpful if you need to get a specific part of your body moving (something for the shoulders if you’re going overhead, some hip work before you squat, etc.) but the bulk of your mobility work should be done some time after you are done with your workout. I like foam rolling before workouts because it’s not very intense and does a good job of getting larger, more general areas moving.
Use movements that don’t unduly challenge your range of motion too far, or involve much impact. If you’ve been sitting at work all day, or are fresh out of bed, going for a run or getting after some double under practice might be a little much. 5-10 minutes of rowing or biking would be a better, less strenuous use of your time. Get those muscles and joints to gradually work through a full range and they’ll love you for it.
We always have warm-ups programmed in our classes, but hopefully these pointers can help guide your further productivity the next time you show up with a few extra minutes to spare.