Warm up routine to fine-tune your muscles before starting a workout. Do not skip this part of the session!
Getting to the gym and getting to work without heating is one of the most frequent mistakes I encounter every day, eating well does not cost as much. The warm-up is a phase prior to the training session that prepares the body for the effort that demands the activity that we are going to perform. It provides undeniable benefits such as:
- Increase muscle temperature. A muscle with an optimum temperature will contract with greater ease and less tension.
- Increase body temperature.
- Dilation of blood vessels. Reducing the effort of the heart.
- Activation of perspiration mechanism. The heat activates the cooling mechanisms of the body, such as sweat, making them more efficient to maintain a stable body temperature.
- Increase range of motion. After a proper warm-up, the joints can move more easily and with greater amplitude. In addition to avoiding muscle breakage injuries, training will be most effective when training in a range of increased joint mobility.
- Secretion of hormones. Many of the reactions that occur in the body are due to hormones, with proper activation our body will be able to use carbohydrates, proteins, and fats more effectively.
- Mental preparation. Last but not least, it will help us to start training in an adequate state of alert and with the motivation and concentration at its maximum level. You can read more about this in the article on sports psychology. The mind influences more than you think!
Heating routine: phases
The warming that I am going to expose is specific for the strength training but could apply to any session making some changes. It consists of three phases:
We should always begin with low/moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise. We can also run, if it is near, or by bicycle, to the gym so that our outward journey can become the first stage of warm-up.
The time that we must invest in this phase depends on several factors such as the external temperature, the intensity of the session that we are going to carry out, the sports experience … We must be the time necessary to start to have heat and to feel activated, which can be between 5-10 minutes.
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After cardio, there is a more specific and intense heating of the joints. There are many alternatives to this warm-up phase: joint rotations, dynamic stretching … Anything will help us prepare for the session.
We must focus on those regions that are more prone to pain, no one knows your body better than you.
The last phase of the warm-up is about completing one or two sets of the exercise with which we are going to begin strength training. For example, if our session starts with bench press with 80 kg, we must perform several repetitions a smaller weight and increase until reaching the programmed weight.
Example of heating routine
This is my personal warm-up routine adapted to the session I am currently performing.
- Walk.The gym where I work is 6 – 8 min walking.
- Cardio.Then I am between 5 – 8 minutes in some elliptical machine or tape, sometimes I combine it with 1 or 2 minutes of rowing.
- Joint mobility. I cannot start a workout without rotating all joints. In my case, I should have an impact on the shoulders and knees since they are my “risk zones”.
- Series of approach. The warm-up concludes with 1 or 2 sets of strength exercise with which the session begins.
Remember that skipping this step is putting your performance and your health at risk. We should not underestimate the power of a good warm-up. And also the importance of hydration, even in team sports!