A good workout warmup is one of the most important parts of your exercise session.
Without a good quality exercise warmup, your risk of strains and other unpleasant mishaps are dramatically increased, so it is definitely worthwhile knowing how to warm up before your main exercise session.
Let’s start with some quick bullet points to help you get the best from your warmup and then we can move on to the 4 ways you can warmup in the gym.
- Exercises selected for your warmup require you to gain an increase in heart rate due to a demand for blood delivery to the working muscles.
- As a result, not only does oxygen and nutrient-rich blood become available to these working muscles, but the elasticity of fascia tissue is increased. Meaning easier flexibility and range of motion.
- The ideal time taken for a warmup depends on the environment and other factors.
- A minimum of 5min should be allowed in hot weather but 10min min is a good idea in colder environments.
- As a rule, you should start slow and gradually increase the intensity of the warmup so that you end at the same intensity level as the main exercise you intend to start.
- There are many effective and acceptable methods of increasing circulation and raising temperature both for the body as a whole and locally in specific areas of the body.
- The one factor to keep in mind is that warmups should be performed any time exercise is done, to maximise benefit and minimise the potential for injury.
4 ways you can warm up in the gym.
RUNNING AS YOUR EXERCISE WARMUP
A lot of you reading this exercise warmup post may be runners and this may sound like a pointless section, but please stick with me here as there is always something new to learn and you never know… you may pick up on something that will help your running. Let’s get into it.
- Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet close together, directly under your hips.
- Your spine should be in a neutral position, with your head and chest up so that you are looking directly forward
Running is such a natural action that correct form is often overlooked. Correct form is extremely important to derive the greatest benefit from running. Let’s have a closer look…
- Begin by rocking your body forward from your hips and torso.
- Allow your weight to roll forward onto the balls of your feet, allowing both heels to rise.
- Once your body begins to fall forward, remove one foot from the ground.
- As your body continues the forward motion, allow your forward foot to fall on the ball of the foot, not your heel.
- Heel striking is one of the best ways to get an injury!
- Your leading foot should land directly under your entre of mass while at the same time the trailing foot moves forward in the same manner.
- Your centre of mass is in the region of your hips so try to imagine your running is moving this area along a horizontal path directly forward.
- The lower extremities move vertically alternating in repetitive actions, directly beneath the centre of mass.
YOU ARE LOOK FOR
- Each foot strikes the ground with the forward portion your forefoot, directly beneath your centre of mass.
- An “S”-like shape when viewed in profile.
- A soundless Transition from foot to foot (no foot slapping sounds).
- An even cadence of fore-foot strikes
THINGS TO AVOID
- Reaching forward by extending your knee and landing in front of your centre of mass, which will lead to.
- Striking the ground with your heel. ALWAYS AVOID THIS!!
- Vertical movement of your centre of mass (e.g., your vertical running motion looks more like you are out skipping)
- Keeping your spine in a neutral position and your shoulders down and relaxed.
- Lifting your head and chin up.
- Keeping your arms bent and Comfortable.
USING A SKIPPING ROPE YOUR WORKOUT WARMUP
Let’s take a look at using skipping as your chosen warmup.
Out of the four warmups we are looking at in this post, Skipping is my least favourite… I just need more practice. How are you at skipping?
- Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet close together directly under your hips.
- Your spine should be in a neutral position with your head and chest up.
- Lock directly forward with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing forward.
- Lightly grasp the handles of the skipping rope with your elbows at your sides.
- The rope should be behind your heels.
- Bend your knees slightly and rotate your wrists backwards and upwards, bringing the rope up behind your body and over your head.
- As the rope begins the downward phase in front of your body, your wrists pull down and your palms rotate forward slightly, bringing the rope down force- fully toward the ground slightly in front of your toes.
- Jump Just enough to allow the rope to pass beneath your feel and repeat.
- There is a vertical movement of your entire body while your wrists rotate in a forward direction
- Your ankles, knees, and hips to bend and then extend with the same force and at the same time.
- A bouncing movement.
- A short foot-strike duration always landing on your forefeet.
- The rope to have continuous tension.
- Jumping to be relatively quiet
- Allowing your heals to touch the ground.
- Excesses arm movement.
- Excessive knee or ankle movement.
- Landing and pushing
- Keeping your rib cage up and your spine a neutral position.
- Keeping your ankles, knees and hips taut but relaxed
USING AN EXERCISE BIKE TO WARMUP
Cycling is a great exercise, but it is a deceptively easy one to get wrong.
Incorrect positioning can lead to potential pain or injury to the shoulders, back, hips or knees… So let’s take a look at how to enjoy pain-free cycling.
- Sit on a bike, with your torso bent forward, resting your weight either on your hands or your elbows.
- Place your feet in the pedals with one leg flexed and bent up towards your torso and the other leg extended so that the pedal at the bottom range of the cycle allowing your knee to extend fully, without locking it or requiring a hip shift
- Extend one knee and hip, pushing down while simultaneously drawing the other knee and hip up.
- Your ankles and feet perform a repetitive alternating Circular motion beneath and slightly forward of your centre of mass.
- Your knees and hips perform a pumping movement by flexing up and in towards the torso and then extending down and away.
- An even movement between your two legs.
- Your head and spine to remain stationary.
- Rounding your back or shoulders.
- Focusing only on the extension of your knee and hip.
- An improper seat height, ie either not allowing your knee and hip to fully extend, or requiring a change in your hip position to provide tension in the pedal through the bottom of the arc of movement
- Keeping your spine in a neutral position and your shoulders down.
USING THE INDOOR ROWING MACHINE AS YOUR WARMUP
Finally, let’s look at using the rowing machine as your chosen warmup of preference.
Rowing is another great full-body exercise that can cause joint pain if done incorrectly.
As with cycling, Incorrect positioning can lead to potential pain or injury to the shoulders, back, hips or knees… so let’s take a look at how to enjoy pain-free rowing.
- Sit on the rowing machine so that your spine is vertical, and your pelvis is tilted up.
- Your feet should be securely fastened.
- Bend your knees, sliding your torso forward, and grasp the handles.
- Push your feet into the foot stand by extending your knees, hips, and back.
- As your knees reach the midpoint of the range, your spine should be perpendicular to the ground and your elbows should be slightly bent as they pull the handle towards the midline of your torso.
- Finish the movement when your knees are completely extended but not locked, your spine is 5-10 degrees past perpendicular and the handle is contacting your torso just below your chest, with your elbows retracted and your shoulders pulled down and back.
- Return by bending your knees and allowing your torso and arms to extend forward so that your torso is flexed forwards 5-10 past perpendicular and your arms are fully extended so that your hands are above your ankles.
- Inhale on the downstroke (when you are rolling forward on the seat) and exhale as the stroke is executed.
- Your torso bends forward with your arms extended forward from the hips and your knees bent.
- Your centre of mass is translated horizontally as your torso flexes and extends along with your hips and knees.
- Your ankles, knees, hips. shoulders, and elbows to all move simultaneously.
- Forearms always remain horizontal.
- Your head and chest remain high and forward.
- Rounding your back.
- No hunching of the shoulders.
- Excessive movement of your spine in either direction.
- No leaning from side to side.
- It is very easy to let your head fall and be looking at the rail the seat is sliding on.
- This will hurt your neck in the long run.
- Head up, please!!
- An unsynchronized movement pattern
- Allowing your knees to migrate either inward or outward.
- Keeping your spine from head to tail bone rigid throughout the movement.
- Maintaining a vertical alignment of your knees, ankles, and hips.
- Keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears throughout The movement.
I hope this post on warmups has helped inform you about the importance of warming up and maybe inspire you to try a new warmup exercise. If you have any comments, do please add them below If you want to learn more about building healthy habits, eating healthily with great recipes and have access to structured coaching that will guide you through the habit change journey, check out the info below.
Wishing you good health and happiness.
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