Planning on jumping right into the most strenuous part of your workout routine the minute you hit the gym floor? Think again. Failing to properly warm up before exercising can make injury more likely and can also reduce the effectiveness of your workout.
Warming-up before exercise is just as important as every other aspect of your exercise plan, such as doing the right exercises and using nutritional bars and protein supplements to enhance muscle-building. Exercise experts suggest the following workouts to ensure a safe and effective workout:
Increase Your Heart Rate
Pumping up your heart rate helps prepare your muscles for exercises and activates your nervous system. Before your workout, briefly jog, or run on the treadmill or bike. Jumping jacks or skipping rope can also help get your blood pumping at a faster rate.
Dynamic stretching can help prepare you for a workout. Make continuous motions to stretch your muscles and prepare them for a workout. Some suggested exercises include: moving your arms in circles, toe touches, and kicking your legs forward. You should avoid static stretches, as these stretches are detrimental to exercise performance.
Try a Few Lunges
Rotating lunges are great warm-up activities because they help to build balance and stability. To perform a rotating lunge, stand with your feet spread hip-width apart. Hold an object at chest level, and then take a big step forward with your left leg.
Bend your left knee and move downward until your thigh is more or less parallel to the floor. Next, hold and turn your torso to the right for a few seconds while keeping the object you’re holding in front of your chest. Then rotate back to the center and stand up again. Next, repeat this exercise with your right foot.
For Squat Enthusiasts
Pre-squat warm-up – Squats have become incredibly popular in recent years as they are great for building muscle and burning fat. However, there is a risk of injury involved that a proper warm-up can mitigate. If you’re planning to do squats, perform a kneeling glute mobilization warm-up. This movement helps to increase mobility in your hips.
To perform the kneeling glute mobilization:
- Get on your hands and knees, and keep your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Cross one ankle behind the opposite knee, pushing the knee of the crossed ankle/leg into the ground.
- Gradually ease your rear back to your heels. While doing this, keep your arms straight and your abs tight.
- Sit back until you feel that the glute on your crossed ankle side has been stretched. Once it has, return to the starting position.
By getting a good warm-up in before you exercise, you maximize your potential gains from your workout and reduce your chance of injury. It’s well worth the investment of 5-15 minutes.
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