The importance of warming up is undeniable. However, you have to choose the exercises wisely in order to prepare your body for the task ahead of you. If you learn these warm-up exercises, you can combine them later as you like, so warming up won’t get boring.
If you read this article, you will find the answer to the following questions:
- Can warm-up exercises be diverse?
- Optimal duration of a warm-up session
- Mobilizing and stabilizing
- The most popular warm-up exercises
Can warm-up exercises be diverse?
Warming up helps you to prepare for the workout session physically and mentally. If you still warm-up the way your old high school P.E. teacher taught you, you might not achieve the desired goals.
Warm-up, although relatively short, can be diverse. While warming up the muscles and joints, you can go through your workout session in your head and focus on what muscles you will be training that day. If it’s leg day, you have to focus on warming up the muscles and joints in your legs. But in the same way, even during a swim workout, the focus may be on leg movements one day and breaststrokes the next.
The point is to look at warming up as part of your workout, not as a nuisance that you want to get done quickly.
Optimal duration of a warm-up session
Warming up usually takes 5-15 minutes. If the conditions are ideal (not too early in the morning, you’ve moved around a little already during the day, it’s not too cold, etc.), then 5 minutes might be enough, but if you don’t feel ready for a workout, take the time to warm up more thoroughly.
If the warm-up
- is too short, the risk of injuries increases significantly.
- is short and too intense, you may experience fatigue during your workout, which significantly reduces efficiency, and there is a risk that you’ll finish your training session too quickly.
- is too long, it’s just wasting time.
- is too long and too intense, then in addition to wasting time, you’ll experience a sudden burst of fatigue during the workout.
In addition to a great training plan, you also need a well-structured warm-up session that adapts to the external conditions (time of day, weather) and your training plan for the day.
Mobilizing and stabilizing
Come on! It’s just warming up!
Unfortunately, if you want to do it right, you have to put together a series of exercises taking into account mobility and stability.
Mobility means the correct execution of the specific exercises, the ability to use the whole range of motion of a given joint. The proper amount of mobility is a good thing, but excessive flexibility, i.e., hypermobility, can be a problem. It is especially common in women that the range of motion of the joints is larger, so the joints can move more easily, thus their instability can lead to strains, inflammation, and other injuries.
Stability means the ability to maintain control of movement, keeping the joints stable, fix. Proper warm-up mobilizes and stabilizes enough to prepare you for the intensity of a workout.
With squats, mobility means that the heel stays down on the ground, the waist and back are straight, and the knees bend without pain. Stability is ensured by not letting the upper body lean forward because by tightening the core muscles, the body is able to hold itself in a stable position.
Now let’s see how to start our workout session!
The most popular warm-up exercises
Stretching with ankle grip
This exercise is not only a warm-up, but it also improves mobility and flexibility. It has a good effect on the hips, ankles, knees, and thighs.
Stand with your legs apart, then raise your right leg. Grasp your ankle with both hands and start pulling towards your body. Count to ten, and then repeat the exercise with your other leg.
Stand with your legs slightly apart and extend your arm straight to the side. Start circling forward, first small circles, then 10 medium and 10 larger circles. When you’re done, repeat the exercise backward.
This is a great exercise to strengthen the shoulders, triceps, biceps, and upper back.
Lunge with push-up:
This exercise strengthens the knees, hips, ankles, and lower back.
The starting position is a push-up. First, bend your right leg and hold for ten seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
Standing lunges improve flexibility and balance.
Stand with your legs slightly apart, with your hands on your hips. Bend your right knee and go as low as you can. Count to ten and repeat the exercise with your left leg.
This exercise activates the gluteal muscle, stretching the iliopsoas muscle in the hips, thus preventing injuries in the lumbar region.
Step back so that your knees are under your hips. Hold for ten seconds, then step back to the starting position. Do it on both sides.
This exercise improves the mobility of the hips, knees, and ankles.
Stand with your feet slightly apart, then bend your right leg at the knee. You can help with your right hand to keep your leg as tight as possible. Meanwhile, your hand should hang loosely next to your torso. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat the stretch with your left foot as well.
Warming up the arms and shoulder girdles:
Stand with your feet slightly apart and extend your right hand crosswise in front of your chest. Grasp your lower right arm with your left hand and pull in the opposite direction. When you are done, repeat the exercise on the other side.
You can do narrow and then wider squats. It’s a great stretching exercise for the knees, thighs, and hips. Repeat 10 times.
This exercise is perfect for increasing your heart rate, allowing the temperature of the muscles to rise to the right level. 1-2 minutes of jumping rope is enough.
This exercise is used to increase the heart rate and reach the desired temperature.
Jump to a position with the legs spread shoulder wide and when taking your hands overhead, clap. Then, return to the first position. Repeat for 1 minute.
If you can use exercise machines, both the treadmill and the exercise bike help raise your heart rate.
Combine these exercises as you like, and after the warm-up session, you will feel energized, which always leads to an effective and enjoyable workout.