The other day I spoke with a friend and fellow fitness addict. Of course, like me, she wasn’t born that way.
About 2 years back she started working out because she was getting ready for a family vacation. She wanted to lose some weight and tone up. She’s been hooked ever since.
After the trip she stuck with it but lately, she’s struggling. She has trouble staying focused during her workouts and the exercises she was performing didn’t feel right.
She lost her motivation therefore she wasn’t seeing results.
When she told me her routine, I quickly figured out two important things:
- She had fallen into the trap of what I call “insanity” — always doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome and most importantly.
- She stopped warming up.
Warming up and cooling down correctly are fundamental – but often overlooked – parts of any training program. Aside from reducing the risk of injury, warming up has it’s benefits. In this case and many others most importantly, it gets your head in the game.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
Warming-up fires up your central nervous system and gets your body ready for a workout. Gradually increasing your heart-rate will not only put less stress on your heart but it will increase your flexibility as well as your range of motion. Giving you a better workout and reducing your risk of getting hurt.
Abruptly ending a workout isn’t fun either and it comes with risks. If you go from working very hard to not at all, when your blood-flow drops, of many things, your internal thermostat works on overtime. Best case scenario you could feel light headed or event faint.
But lets not lose sight of that psychological element. When it’s time for your workout, it’s time to curb the stress and the distractions of life and focus on you.
LET’S GET DOWN TO BASICS
There are 3 main benefits/reasons to warming up prior to your workout.
First, it will increase your body temperature. An increase in body temperature increases blood flow and heart rate, and literally warms up your muscles, preparing them for the high rates of flexion and extension they are in for.
Second, as previously stated, it prepares your central nervous system. Your nervous system plays vital role in fitness, it tells your body when you’ve had enough or when the weight is too heavy. And it keeps your muscles alert and focused mid-exercise.
Lastly, it prepares you mind to be able to get your body to move in the ways you’re going to want it to. It is the equivalent to priming yourself for your heavy bench set by busting out 3 slow and deliberate push-ups. It primes the muscles and gets them used to the movement.
HOW IT IS DONE
Like everything in life, progression is key. Start your warm-up with static/slow movements. Hurdle stretches, toe touches, lunge stretches, and slow Russian twists are good ways to get the blood flowing.
Slowly work your way up from static stretches to dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are actually what we fully recommend here at Koko. Due tot he wide range of clients we get it is best to asses range of motion and flexibility by doing light dynamic stretches such as swinging your leg from side to side, kicks, arm circles, body weight squats, and high knee skips.
Make sure to do them across all plains of movements. Up and down movements such as jumping jacks, rotational movements like Russian twists, and front o back movements like lunges.
The main goal is to elevate that heart rate and get your body ready!
Warming up is vital for a total 360º routine. Your body needs to know what it is in store for so it properly adapt for the gym session. It also reduces your risk of injury and allows you to push weight more efficiently.
Before you go in at the gym, pop a squat on a yoga mat and stretch it out.
Stay Koko Strong!
COO & Master FitCoach, Koko FitClub
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