Why is a warm up important?

If you've ever worked with a personal trainer or work with one now chances are a warm-up has been part of your fitness regime. Though some may find it time-consuming there's a very good reason to have a proper warm-up before starting your workout.

Today I'll explain to you why a warm-up should be the first thing you do when starting a workout

Why is a warm up important?

Performing a basic warm-up before a workout is important because it helps your body prep itself for the stress you're about to put it through.

A warm-up usually consists of doing an easy cardio exercise at a heart rate of between 40-60% of your heart rate max. To find your HRM, subtract your age from 220. For example, myself being a 35-year-old woman has an HRM of 185. The easiest way to find a steady heart rate to warm up with is to simply divide that number by 50% (185/2 = 92.5). If you have no way of tracking your heart rate you can use a system called the rate of perceived exertion, or RPE. Your RPE when warming up should feel like a 3 or 4 out of 10.

Another way to warm up is to only warm up the area you'll be working on. You can do this with things like arm circles if you're planning to do an arm workout, or marches if you're planning a leg day. You can also grab a set of very small weights, and do things like bicep curls or chest presses, or use your body weight to do things like squats to warm up and activate the area.

You can also stretch before your workout but I recommend doing that after your warm-up so your muscles are ready to go.

A warm-up should be at least 5 minutes and should not feel tough. You want to move enough to feel warm and limber.

How to warm up before a workout.

Here are some movements you can do to warm yourself up before your workout.

Cardio based: Can be done for the whole 5+ minutes or can be combined with weight-based movements below.

1) Jumping Jacks - Hop and sprawl all of your appendages out, then hop and bring them back into the centre of your body.

2) High Knees - Stand on one leg with the knee of your other leg lifted up in front of you. Hop from foot to foot bringing your knee up in front of you as far as you can. You can also march on the spot bringing your knee up nice and high.

3) Bunny Hops - Stand with both feet together. Take small, quick hops from side to side, or back to front.

4) Butt Kicks - Stand on one leg with the foot of your other leg swung behind you. Hop from foot to foot, swinging each foot behind you as if you're trying to kick yourself in the butt.

Weight based: Think low weight and high reps, but stop if you're starting to feel fatigue.

1) Squats - Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed out at a slight angle (around 25-35 degrees). Keeping your weight in your heels, hinge at your knees and your waist as if you're about to sit in a chair. Push up through your heels to engage the right muscles as you return to the start position.

2) Pushups - Get into a plank position on the floor on your hands. Keep a straight line from your shoulder to your contact point with the floor (knees/toes). With your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your core engaged, lower yourself down until your elbows form almost a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back up and return to start position. You can also do this leaning against a wall, chair, or set of stairs to make it easier.

3) Crunches - Lay on the floor with your knees bent up towards the ceiling. Lift your shoulders off the ground and engage your core at the top. Never pull on your neck when doing any sort of crunch.

4) Hip Lifts/Glute Bridges - Lay on the floor with your knees bent up towards the ceiling. Lift your hips to the ceiling and squeeze your glutes at the top. Lower your hips and release engagement once your hips hit the floor.

Enjoy your warm-up and workout, team!

Liz xo

Next blog post: Health benefits of magnesium.

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