How do you feel about warming up prior to exercise? Most people see it as a waste of time. You will see people stretch there legs out before a run or stretch out there chest before they do a chest press. But rarely do you see people go through a full warm up routine before they start there weight training routine for the day.
How important is warming up before a workout?
Warming up and stretching correctly are fundamental, yet often overlooked parts of any training program. While these components to training are very basic, many people tend to skip over a proper warm-up, stretch and cool down program and wonder why they do not feel ready to work out. I call these aspects of training the forgotten elements of training. They are techniques that you never see much of in gyms.
Warming up has many benefits. The main benefit to warming up is injury prevention because the blood will be pumping to an area, lowering the chance of a muscle pull or joint injury. Warming up also has positive effects because afterward strength and focus should be peaked. Warming up has many physical and mental benefits.
A younger lifter rarely thinks about joint health when getting started with lifting. A large percentage of lifters are forced to stop performing certain exercises, work around pain, or quit training altogether because they never paid attention to joint health from the beginning. If they had stopped and focused on taking care of there body before they began a workout they could have trained pain free for life and gotten much more results.
Joints require mobility, stability, and motor control. In other words, joints need flexible muscles and soft tissue to surround them. Joints stay healthier when you have a strong and stabilizing musculature to prevent wasted movement. Joints require coordination to move properly. Joints also need balanced levels of strength in the surrounding musculature in order to track properly.
Joint health is highly correlated with good habits in terms of warming up and good form while lifting. Performing some sort of a dynamic warm-up before you start lifting can pay of big time. Things such as foam rolling, mobility drills, and activation drills can get your joints and muscles ready to perform to there highest capability. Once you are done with that you should conduct a more specific warm-up consisting of several progressively heavier sets prior to your first compound lift of the day. Use a full range of motion when you lift weights, and make sure you use sound form. These things are vital for you to have healthier joints 5, 10 and 15 plus years from now.
An injury is the last thing any person that has a weight training routine wants. You can miss a meal here and there if you absolutely must and still reach your goals over time. You can skip the last 5 minutes of your cardio session if you need to be somewhere and your body won't hate you. But if you skip your warm-up and end up with a muscle pull, you're not gaining optimally for the next month or even longer in some cases.
Warming up is injury preventative in many ways. It increases flexibility and blood flow which limits the chance of a muscle pull and joint pain. A proper warm-up also gets the you in a groove for a good lifting session.
Don't skip out on this very basic principal. Your body will thank you later.