Your warm-up is a very important part of your workout routine. It’s crucial that your muscles are prepared before you start any intense exercise. This can help prevent injury and can increase your performance. There are a lot of different ways to warm-up. You want any warm-up routine to hit all of the muscles you’ll be using during your workout.
Choosing the best warm-up exercises for your needs can make or break your fitness regimen. Tracking your progress starts here. In this article, we’ll walk you through our best warm-up methods. Keep reading to get started on your fitness journey!
1. Choose dynamic exercises.
Studies have shown that doing dynamic exercises when warming up is a lot better than static stretches. During traditional physical education, static stretches are often part of exercise routines. However, modern experts say that doing dynamic workouts that require skipping, jogging in place, and cardio are a lot more effective.
In fact, experts are finding that static stretching can even have a bad effect on athletic performance. Static stretches are okay for cooling down but they’re really bad for warm-ups. The logic behind this is that static stretches condition your body for stillness while dynamic cardio exercises teach your body how to move.
Some amazing dynamic exercises include:
- Butt kicks (quads, glutes)
- High knees (abs, legs)
- Jumping jacks (total body)
- Plie hops (legs, glutes)
2. Pick warm-up exercises that target the right muscle groups.
Make sure to match your warm-up to the kind of workout that you’re doing. The entire point behind warming up is to prepare your body for what’s coming. You should match the muscles you’re warming up to the exercises that you’re going to do throughout your routine.
For example: if you’re going to do a lower-body strength routine, make sure your warm-up exercises include squats, hops, and jumping jacks. If you’re working out to get abs, make sure that you start off with some planks and slow burpees.
3. Warm-up for at least five minutes.
Warming up isn’t just about quality–it’s also about duration. Some people make the mistake of relying only on intensity. They forget that it takes the body some time to learn and prepare. A medium-paced warm-up routine that lasts 7 minutes is a lot better than an intense, 3-minute booster.
One of the best ways to increase your warm-up time is to slowly warm-up during the day. Live an active lifestyle by doing everyday things like taking the stairs, walking out to get lunch instead of using a delivery service. This gets your body prepared for movement even before you hit the gym.
Another factor is how long your actual workout is going to be. A longer routine should have a longer warm-up duration. If you are pressed for time, you also have the option of integrating the warm-up routine into the actual strength or HIIT routine. You can do this by making your warm-up a less intense version of the exercises you will be doing during the workout itself.
Below are some examples of durations, intensities, and warmup exercises:
- Routine: 45 mins, warm-up: 7 mins, Routine Intensity: High, Warm-up Intensity: Medium
- Routine: 3 mins, warm-up: 5 mins, Routine Intensity: Medium, Warm-up Intensity: Light
4. Always include core and back exercises.
If we think about the body as a machine, we could say that the core and the back are its main tools. Whatever exercise you’re doing, it will always involve using your core and back muscles. One of the most common causes of injuries is that people focus so much on “popular” muscles linked to traditional fitness like legs, arms, and washboard abs that they neglect building the actual core and back strength.
Your core and your back are your body’s support system. Don’t forget about
them when you’re building your warm-up routine. Other disciplines like yoga and pilates offer a great number of core and back exercises that make awesome warm-ups.
Below are some of the best ones you can incorporate into your routine:
- Downward-facing dog (back, shoulders, core, glutes, hamstrings)
- Plank (core)
- Back-bow (back)
- Lizard pose (back, core, chest)
- Cricket pose (back)
- Slow hip dips (core and obliques)
5. Never push through pain.
Although changing your limits and moving through discomfort are all a part of growing stronger, it’s also very important to listen to your body. One of the best ways to warm-up is to consider your fitness level and adjust appropriately. Jumping right into intense routines is one of the most common mistakes that aspiring athletes and fitness enthusiasts make.
Remember that there is a difference between discomfort and pain. The tightness in the back of your hamstrings when you do a forward fold is an example of reasonable discomfort. Your back muscles suddenly stinging because you lift too heavily is an example of pain.
While it might be tempting to jump into intense training, remember that getting injured will only set you back. Remember that pain is your body’s way of signaling that something’s wrong. Never, ever push through pain. Once you feel like something’s wrong, stop as early as your warm-up and see a doctor.
Warm-up routines are crucial to gaining strength, achieving your fitness goals, and getting to your goal weight. When you build the right warm-up routine, you’re making an investment in your health.
Warm-up routines help your body do more for you. Choosing the right exercises to condition your muscles can make or break all your progress and hard work. By following our best ways to warm-up, you can make the most of your time at the gym. Don’t just work hard–work smart!
One great way to make sure that you’re doing the right warm-up exercises for your overall fitness goals is to consult your local professionals at your gym. Make sure that it’s somewhere you work out regularly so they know your profile. If you haven’t joined a gym yet, getting a gym membership and joining your local gym is a great place to start.
This gives you access to in-demand professionals like nutritionists and personal trainers. No investment is as important as the one that you make in yourself and in your health!