Even Superheroes should warm up before a workout.
A good warm-up can provide some of the following benefits:
Helps increase blood flow to muscles and other tissues
Wakes up the nervous system
Increases range of motion
Prepares the cardiovascular system for exercise
Enhances coordination, body awareness, balance, and reaction time
I'm a big fan of Rock and Roll.
If you've followed any of my posts from the past, you'll know I'm a big believer in getting on the ground to rock and roll as part of a complete warm-up. I've gathered a lot of inspiration from the work of Original Strength, DNS, and the ancient practice of Yoga.
In simple terms, we are going back to our roots, moving as we did when we were a baby and infant. I believe there is a lot of power in these movements, especially to initiate the nervous system.
I like the warm-up to flow. It begins on the floor and works its way up to standing. The intensity slowly builds throughout the series of movements. Here is a simple template on how I like to structure the warm-up.
Light movement to increase the heart rate and core temperature (ex. shooting hoops, cardio machines, playing catch with someone, etc.) for 5 to 10 minutes
On the back or side (Movements and corrective exercise)
On the stomach or hands and knees/feet (Movements and corrective exercise)
Standing (Movements and corrective exercise)
Agility (If it's incorporated into the strength workout instead of done separately)
Here is a sample of a general warm-up that I use. Take into account that it isn't customized for a specific person's needs, but it addresses the whole body and can be done every day. Even on days you're not working out, it can be used for a quick tune up if you're feeling tight and stiff. Do 5 to 10 reps of each of the following exercises.
Overhead Arm Press on Back with Knees Bent and Feet Flat on the Ground
Hip Raises/Knee Hug Hip Raises
Cat/Camel with Neck Nods/Rotations
Crocodile Breathing/Sphinx Neck Nods/Rotations/Elbow Push-Ups
Kneeling Rock-Backs/Half Kneeling Rock-Backs
Yoga Push-Ups (Downward Dog)/Rocking Calf Stretch
Body Weight Squats
Active Hang from Bar
Since initiating a good warm-up plan into the beginning of workouts, muscle tweaks have virtually been eliminated. I think you'll enjoy the benefits of warming up with a combination of light cardio, fundamental movements, and dynamic stretching. It is far better than just cardio alone.
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