While many of us are tempted to slack off on warming up properly for a workout (trust me, I’ve been guilty too!), I can’t stress how important it is for your safety and progress.
Warming up gets your blood pumping to your muscles in order to prep them for movement, while also lubricating and prepping your tendons and ligaments for the same. Skipping a warm up can result in pulled muscles and other serious injuries, while also limiting your mobility and range of motion!
So, what exactly does an effective warm up look like? To begin, it’s more than just a few static stretches: you really want specific movements that get your blood flowing and touch on full-body mobility.
Here we’ll go through how to structure an effective warm up, as well as why it’s so beneficial to do so!
Benefits of Warming Up
1. Helps Prevent Injuries
It’s highly likely that you’ve rolled out of bed in the morning, and the first thing you did was stretch. Why?
Because after lying still all night, your body is trying to warm up your muscles and get blood circulating efficiently so you can start moving freely. Now, imagine if you have been sitting at work all day (or you’ve just woke up and want to work out) and you decide to just jump into a lot of movement – it’s likely you’re going to be slightly stiff (at least) and your movements may actually be uncomfortable or hurt.
When we warm up, we ease our body into movement and get our blood flowing into our muscles, along with nutrients and oxygen, so they begin to warm and loosen up so that they can effectively stretch and contract during each exercise.
In addition, you also get other fluids moving that lubricate your joints and tendons.
If you don’t warm up properly, you may end up in the classic bamboo analogy: where your body hasn’t warmed up enough to “bend” like bamboo, and so it “breaks” like a log!
2. Increases Your Mobility
Mobility plays a huge roll in making gains and preventing injuries. To be mobile is to be able to extend your muscles and tendons through their full ranges of motion, with ease.
When you warm up, you lubricate your joints and begin opening them through their range of motion, so that when you move through an exercise, you are able to move through the full range of it and not be stopped by stiff muscles or ligaments.
Better mobility and increased range of motion can also increase your results and gains, since you’ll be able to squat deeper, lunge deeper, push up deeper, move easier, and more.
3. Sparks Your Motivation
Have you ever procrastinated on doing something, but after you finally started, you found it was easy to keep going?
Warm ups can have that effect when you really don’t feel like working out: once you get moving, you’ll find it’s often easier to just continue into your workout!
Tada: motivation through momentum!
How To Warm Up Before A Workout
Ideally, you want to spend 8-15 minutes warming up to really get things moving. I personally like to move through a couple yoga poses, like sun salutations, to get my blood flowing before I begin any deeper stretching.
However, any way that you want to begin moving, such as breathing in deeply while standing tall and raising your arms over your head, then repeating until your heart rate increases slightly, is great as well. From here, you can move into some slow air squats, followed by a very light in-place jog/foot-shuffle.
Again, the goal is to ease into movement, so think gentle as you begin.
For a more in-depth routine to follow after some basic movements, watch this warm up/mobility session:
And, if you enjoyed this mobility session, be sure to subscribe to the MV FIT App, which includes daily workouts and a mobility/warm up section with instructional videos to access at your fingertips!