Doing a proper warm up is often one of the most underestimated aspects of a training program. A warm up is a great time to prepare the body for physically challenging activities while getting in some important assistance work to correct muscle imbalances and prevent the risk of an injury during a training session. A warm up usually consists of low intensity activity which is similar and SPECIFIC to the activity being performed in the workout. Instead of spending 2 minutes on the treadmill followed by a few swings of the arms before your next bench and biceps session remember the following list of physiological benefits to a warm up:
1. INCREASED BLOOD FLOW
Muscles and organs need blood flow in order to perform any tasks. A good warm up will help our body to perform any task at hand
2. INCREASED CORE TEMPERATURE
Doing a light warmup increases the temperature of the bod, which helps the circulatory system pump blood filled with oxygen all over the body, preparing the muscles and cardiovascular system for increasingly challenging tasks. Hemoglobin releases oxygen much easier at higher temperatures.
3. INCREASED MUSCLE TEMPERATURE
This increases the speed of muscle contractions and blood flow to the muscles .Having better oxygen flow and blood flow will keep you working out longer and harder.
4. INCREASED MUSCLE SUPPLENESS
The muscles can stretch and return to normal lengths easily with the increased temperature and blood flow.
5. INCREASED METABOLISM
Due to the increase in body temperature and metabolic demand the metabolic system responds by more efficiently removing blood lactate following high intensity, shorter duration bouts of exercise.
6. PRIM THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Its similar to revving your car engine up before taking it for a spin. A dynamic and challenging warmup “wakes up” the nervous system to take on challenging, explosive tasks. This will increase your rate of force development (RFD), in other words how quickly you can go from standing still to suddenly sprint to get out of the way if a car is coming straight towards you.
7. INCREASED MOTIVATION
Ever felt PUMPED by just visualizing your workout? This is mainly due to the increased blood flow and thoughts of the upcoming workout. Motivation will be higher during the workout.
The recommended activities for the general warm up phase include rowing, jogging, and jumping rope. I also suggest dressing in layers to increase your body temperature faster and breaking a light sweat.
And for dynamic-specific warm up, I recommend more intense drills to prepare the body for intense exercise. Increasingly demanding and explosive movements should be performed to increase nervous system activation and muscle activation. Examples of dynamic movements include skips, high knees, butt kicks, carioca, and lunge variations.
Warming up should be light and simple. It shouldn’t leave you puffing and panting for air. Your goal during the warmup is to break a light sweat and increase the blood flow to your muscles and organs to prepare for the workout ahead. Your warm up will only take 5-15 minutes and will have a profoundly positive effect on the quality of your workouts. So make sure you don’t skip them.