This is something we all know we should do, but we don’t always know why- so why warm up?
Warming up before (rigorous physical activity and) going to the gym is something I would encourage everyone to do, and some of the key reasons can be found below:
- Increases blood flow (especially important for obese people and others with poor circulation).
- Warms up muscles, joints and connective tissues.
- Allows you to check for any injury before exposing the body to heavy weight.
- Allows for practice of the lift(s) you will be performing.
- Gets the body used to the patterns of movement it will be working in (similar to the above) and uncommon positions.
- Increases confidence and allows one to lift heavier with better form for the working sets.
- Dynamic warm ups are great to wake up sleepy muscle groups (glutes, hamstrings and upper back/scapula) and release tight areas such as the hips and shoulders to allow for more optimal technique and range of motion to be achieved.
You may wonder:
‘Why do the big guys and or the guys with terrible form in my gym never seem to get injured even though they don’t warm up?’
This is because there is something of a tolerance people can build up against injury via certain movements, as they’re used to the tempo, relatively violent directional changes and or not warming up entirely. To put it simply they are conditioned to tolerate something that would injure you, just as a rugby player can withstand contact that may badly injure a normal person. However, this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from a proper warm up and you certainly shouldn’t take it as meaning you don’t need to warm up either! Believe us when we say a shoulder injury- arguably the most common injury with a recreational weight trainer- is a massive chore to manage and recover from (as is any other injury!).
Apart from the more obvious reasons such as increasing blood flow and warming up the specific areas you will be targeting/using to avoid injury, warm ups are underrated for the extra practice of key lifts they allow you before working sets. To put it simply, lifting is a skill, and strength is a combination of technique, patterning of movements and muscle size. If you don’t get stronger (and subsequently lift heavier) over time, your results in regards to body composition will likely stagnate- this is the case with many female beginners who tend to use too light a weight without progressing, and many male intermediate trainers who focus on archaic bodybuilding splits too much (see why they’re ineffective here) and prevent themselves from getting bigger and stronger, and also from getting more skilled from repeating a lift more frequently.
What would a good warm up consist of (that doesn’t take an age)?
A good warm up would entail a machine such as a rower or crosstrainer, and even a treadmill, in order to warm up the heart, core and somewhat the target muscle groups. We would advise against a static bike as the core will not be engaged as much and some people find it tightens the legs and hips.
Then non-weighted movements aimed at increasing mobility and warming up the joints; lunges, squats, shoulder rotations, chest swings, press ups and dynamic stretches targeting the hips and shoulders. These can be focused on the upper or lower body dependent on your session.
You could foam roll here; working through the IT band, glutes, and back, or even opt for pressure balls for places like the rear shoulder or vastus medialis.
Then the use of a kettle bell is great pre-session in order to activate the (posterior chain) glutes and engage the back, and also goblet squats with a pause at the base- ensuring the weight is taken through the muscles, rather than hinging on the knees.
Then we would move into 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps, increasing the weight each time from a light load to around 80-90% of your working set load. This allows practice of the movement, further passive stretching and warming up of the joints/muscles and a focus on improving technique.
Please see a quick and easy lower body and upper body warm up below:
???????????? WARM UP for LEG DAY ???????????? with our @MB_LDNM taking @clean_eating_alice through a simple and effective routine you can use to maximise your gains! Tag a friend! • 20 Squats • 20 Extended lunges • 20 Spiderman lunges • 20 Kettle bell swings • 10 Goblet squat and stretch Stretching quickly through the hips, groin, calfs, abs and shoulders is also good practice for most people pre leg day, and especially before squats. Sitting at a desk tightens up these areas, and most of us neglect stretching- so opening up the areas slightly that inhibit proper form/range is beneficial in our view. What are your favourite warm up exercises? Tag a friend below & try this before your next leg day & see if it helps! #LDNMuscle #LDNMLadies
???? Happy Easter people! ???? Here’s an extremely simple @ldn_muscle warm up for you to use. 30 seconds of each exercise: • Shoulder rotations • Chest swings • (Very) Light stretch pulses • High cable rows • Knee press ups • Full press ups I would then go on to perform 3 x 10 reduced load sets of the first exercise- increasing the weight each time. This is as much to practice the movement as to ready the body for increased stress. Look at employing a trap and possibly an ab stretch too for you real inflexible folk who sit for a large portion of the day. #LDNMuscle #LDNM #LDNMLadies #Shoulders #Triceps #Chest #MuscleGain #Muscle #FatLoss #Fitspo #Fitfam #Fitness #Weights #Workout #WeightLoss #Easter #Gym #Shredz #Cutting #Shredding #CuttingGuide #Bulking #BulkingBible #BikiniGuide #Mobility #Drills #mbvids
A video posted by Max Bridger (@mb_ldnm) on
3 exercises to use before your leg days, weight bearing sport and simply activity in general. These are good to use with clients if they struggle with posture, glute activation, hinging at the hip and so forth. 3 X 15-20 reps on each exercise. 1.) Resistance band thrusters: This is not a squat. You push the glutes back, and this brings about a bend at the knees. Then you drive forwards, you do not push through the feet. 2.) Kettle Bell Swings: Again this is an exercise performed by stretching and contracting the glutes, whilst keeping your back straight and shoulders retracted somewhat. It isn’t a squat. Notice the chest comes down as the glutes move back- allowing just enough space for the KB to pass under the pelvis. 3.) High Cable Rows: Set up with good posture, legs beyond shoulder width and squeezing the glutes. Then anchor the band at chest height. Step back until there is resistance on the band with the arms fully extended. Start each rep by splitting the hands and then driving back- this engages the rear delts first, rather than the biceps and tight shoulders/traps. These warm up the upper back and passively stretch the chest and shoulders, which are tight in about 8/10 clients. #LDNM #LDNMuscle #LDNMLadies #LDNMFamily #Glutes #RearChain #Activation #WarmUp #PersonalTrainer #NutritionCoach #FlexibleDieting #IIFYM #NaturalBodybuilding #Natural #FitFam #Fitness #Fitsporation #MuscleGain #FatLoss #Bulking #BulkingBible #BulkingSeason #mbvids
In conclusion, warming up is beneficial to long and short term progress, and I personally believe it is an important skill for both personal trainers and recreational gym users to practice with each and every session.