I have to ask …
Do you warm-up, stretch, and cool down before and after your workout?
Unfortunately, many people will agree that they DON’T. If you are one of those people, this article is exactly for you!
You’re Getting Warmer!
Warming up is absolutely critical when it comes to being successful with your training. It allows your bones, muscles, and mind to warm-up, get loose, and get the blood flowing. This allows your body to train efficiently and accurately minimizing the threat of injury to muscles, joints, and ligaments during your workout. Though the main purpose of warming up is injury prevention it is also super beneficial for your mental state as well!
When you go into the gym and immediately start lifting or working out you don’t give your mind enough time to comprehend your workout and get you motivated for the stress you are about to put your body through. During the warm-up phase of your training you will be able to focus on the exercises you want to hit and you will be able to jump-start your motivation!
Here are a few great ways to warm-up before you train!
- 5 – 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill, stair climber, elliptical, or arc trainer.
- Perform light weight warm-up sets for the muscles you plan on training, bump up the weight to a moderately heavy weight and complete a few warm-up After this moderately heavy warm-up set you want to rest until fully recovered, then start your workout!
What you get from warming up!
- Increased flexibility
- Injury prevention
- Lubricates the joints
- Achieve optimal results
Stretch it Out!
Along with a good warm-up before your workout you should follow-up your workout with a stretching session. Just like warming up, stretching is preventative care. By implementing stretching into your training regimen you are less likely to experience injury in future training sessions.
There are many great ways to stretch each and every part of your body!
There is a big debate about what whether or not you should stretch warm or cold muscles. I am a huge advocate for stretching after a light warm-up. This allows increased blood flow to the muscles which in turn creates better mobility and avoids injury while stretching.
Imagine that your muscles are like a rubber band, a cold and brittle rubber band will snap but a warm rubber band will stretch and bend and return to its original shape.
What you get from stretching!
- Increased blood flow
- Improve flexibility
- Prevents injury
- Optimum training
Cooling down after you workout or cardio session is actually very important even though most people don’t normally incorporate a cool down after training. I would say it is most important after cardiovascular training. Think about it, you just completed 15 minutes of 30 seconds on and 1 minute walking rest of sprints. You immediately turn the treadmill off and leave. You’re gasping for air, sweating bullets, shaking, and your heart rate is higher than the empire state building. This is exactly why you need to allow your body a chance to cool down and let your heart rate return to normal.
I would say if you complete a 5 minute warm-up you should also complete a 5 minute cool down after you session.
What you get from cooling down!
- Helps your heart rate and breathing to return to normal
- Will help avoid dizziness or fainting
- Helps prepare your muscles for the next exercise session
Protect your body from injury by incorporating a warm-up and cool down session along with stretching before and/or after training. Hey, we only get one body! Might as well take care of the one we have.