Why is it important to warm-up?
Put simply: A good warm-up can prevent injury and improve physical performance.
In fact, the warm-up is probably the most important part of your workout and in some cases, may actually be your workout.
"If you don't have time to warm-up, you don't have time to workout."
Okay, that saying may be a little extreme. We all know there are varying ways to warm-up and you don't have to spend 20 minutes a day getting ready for your workouts. For most busy people, that would probably be a waste of time too.
Further, you don't have to do 100 yoga poses or endless foam rolling to activate your body like many extreme folks do in the gym; though, I'm sure they feel amazing.
A proper warm-up can be executed in as little as 5 to 10 minutes if you are focused and prepared.
Why is going through a proper warm-up so important?
Reason #1: Our muscles are like rubber bands (Stretch Cold and they can break)
The average person spends most of their day inactive; i.e., sitting hunched over at a desk, sitting on the couch, sitting in the car, sleeping, etc. This lack of movement causes our muscles to become tight and constricted.
Heavy lifting or sprinting without a proper warm-up can increase the risk of a muscle pull or tear when being put under high tension suddenly. Like a rubber band, the more you stretch and warm it up, the more pliable it becomes.
A good warm-up literally warms the muscles by increasing the supply of blood and oxygen to the area being prepped for activity.
Reason #2: Our joints also need to be lubricated and stretched
Our joints do not have their own blood supply, so doing a proper warm-up before a workout or physical activity washes the joint in synovial fluid. The synovial fluid lubricates the joints and helps to minimize wear and tear.
Without moving your joints through gentle movement first, you risk wearing them out over the long term.
No one wants to be the crippled old guy, so warm your joints!
What is the proper way to warm-up?
The common misconception is that static stretching is the best way to warm-up. However, static stretching a cold muscle can be just as dangerous as working out with cold muscles and joints.
The best warm-up approach is to move the targeted joints through their full range of motion using a series of mobility drills prior to doing any static stretches. This is what is most commonly referred to as a "dynamic" or "active" warm-up.
Why dynamic warm-ups are better than passive stretching
Actively engaging your joints and muscles through their full range of muscles activates the central nervous system and engages the brain; as well as the other targeted areas you are prepping.
To quote Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness, "A dynamic warm-up is like pre-gaming, except there is no alcohol involved"
Also, as previously mentioned, the active nature of a dynamic warm-up increases the circulation of blood and oxygen. Stretching tends to be very passive and done with little to no movement, so the circulation benefits may be minimal.
All of that said, check out the video below. We've partnered with Jim Romig, owner of Internal Roots Movement to help provide some great movement and mobility videos so you can learn and practice proper technique.
The Ground Based Warm-up For Beginners
You will notice in the video that Jim utilizes a combination of static movements with active joint movements to achieve the desired activation effect.
This warm-up is great for beginners before a workout, as a stand alone workout on a recovery day, or simply as a great way to reconnect with your body after a few days of inactivity.
Clear some space and give it a try.
Source: Nerd Fitness