… to Warm Up

Muscle & Performance - - Contents - By Lara Mc­glashan, MFA, CPT

Train­ing with­out warm­ing up is like putting taffy in the freezer then try­ing to bend it. Your mus­cles, lig­a­ments and joints re­act much the same way ϐ ǧ tion, re­sult­ing in pulls, strains, sprains, tears and other Ǧϐ Ǥ

Most peo­ple skip their warm-up (and cool-down for that matter) in an ef­fort to save time. But truth­fully, in ϐ brain to han­dle the work ahead, im­prov­ing mo­bil­ity and move­ment qual­ity while pre­vent­ing injury.

ϐ roll and keep you from get­ting benched af­ter you bench.


Foam rolling un­ties knots and shuts down trig­ger points while also re­mov­ing waste prod­ucts from your tis­sues, help­ing lengthen and re­lease your mus­cles in prepa­ra­tion to train. Do your rolling at the be­gin­ning of a warm-up, be­fore any­thing else, and tar­get the ar­eas that are chron­i­cally tight or sore from a pre­vi­ous work­out. For ad­di­tional mo­bil­ity work and ac­cel­er­ated re­cov­ery, roll again post­work­out.


A dy­namic warm-up is one that moves (as op­posed to be­ing sta­tion­ary), tak­ing your mus­cles, limbs and joints grad­u­ally through their com­plete range of mo­tion. First, do some sim­ple dy­namic stretches such as arm cir­cles, leg swings, air squats and hang­ing shrugs — stretches that fo­cus on a par­tic­u­lar limb, joint or ac­tion. Sec­ond, do moves that use mul­ti­ple joints, such as duck walks, inch­worms, bear crawls and crab walks, to en­gage your mind and your body func­tion­ally.


Get­ting your heart rate up is para­mount to be­ing warm and ready for ex­er­cise. Walk­ing, jog­ging, skip­ping rope and rid­ing a sta­tion­ary bike are all good ac­tiv­i­ties to get your blood mov­ing and your body ready to train. You can even al­ter­nate this kind of light car­dio with dy­namic stretches to save time. But re­mem­ber: This car­dio is not part of your work­out, so don’t sprint when you’re sup­posed to jog. Work up grad­u­ally to a pace at which you’re break­ing a sweat but not breath­ing hard.


Although most peo­ple think of yoga as a re­lax­ing, re­ju­ve­nat­ing ac­tiv­ity, it is also a great way to warm up ϐ Ȅ Ǧ / that takes your body through var­i­ous po­si­tions. This en­gages mul­ti­ple mus­cle groups at once while also wak­ing up your brain, and the deep breath­ing that ac­com­pa­nies the prac­tice helps open air­ways and oxy­genate Ǥ ϐ ϐ be­fore get­ting into your train­ing.


If you’re do­ing heavy strength train­ing or a pow­er­lift­ing work­out, do­ing some move­ment prep primes your ner­vous sys­tem for the work to come. Body­weight moves or ex­er­cises done with light weight that use the same mus­cles that you’ll be train­ing are ideal. For in­stance, if you’re go­ing to be squat­ting, do / Ǧ / ϐ ǡ into some back or front squats with the naked bar for a cou­ple sets, then up the poundage. If you’re bench­ing, do some push-ups, inch­worms and Spi­der-man crawls be­fore hit­ting the bench for some warm-up reps with the bar. 

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