Workouts are really made before you even pick up a dumbbell. Warming up properly not only prevents unnecessary injuries but will put you in the right frame of mind, and prep your body for a much better workout. A proper warm up will help you reach your full potential and get the most out of your time at the gym.
Do It Properly
A lot of beginners, especially young males, gloss over their warmups. This is because their bodies don’t seem to need it, or because they can’t be bothered ‘wasting time’. However, a proper warm up is far from a waste of time, and if you do it right, you will make far greater gains in strength and overall fitness.
Get Your Heart Pumping
The first thing to do is get your blood moving. If you live close by to the gym, then why not try walking or jogging to the gym? That way, you are saving on fuel and getting a warm up in before you even get to the gym. Once you’re at the gym, even if you’ve just run there, get on a bike or a rowing machine and do a solid 5 to 10 minute warm up to break a sweat that should see you through a workout. Getting your heart going from the get-go is a great way to help you get the most out of your workout.
Warm Up Dynamically
Rather than just doing a couple of basic stretches that you learnt in primary school phys ed class, do a proper dynamic warm up. There’s a lot of research to show that static stretching is not good for your muscles and can in fact do some damage. So, rather than getting to the gym and plonking yourself down in the stretching area, get up and get on a bike for a few minutes, then warm up with resistance bands before doing some target warm ups.If you plan on training legs, then do some body-weight or lightweight exercises that activate a full range of motion and get the muscles primed. Body-weight squats and walking lunges, followed by high knee skipping is a great way to warm up the legs.
A great, and often overlooked, way to prime your body for a great workout is by focusing on your breathing. As you go through your warm up routine, focus on steady, deep breathing to draw in as much oxygen as you can, putting your body in an alkaline state and priming your muscles for work.This will also help get your head in the right space. Many of us go through our days breathing shallowly, so taking the time to breath deep and steady yourself before committing to workout has great benefits.
Warm Up Your Mind
The key to a great workout is intention. While you are warming up, take a moment to consider exactly what it is that you intend to do and to get out of the workout. Remember why you are there in the first place. What are your goals? Your workout is a time that you take away from each day to focus in on bettering and looking after yourself.Enjoy the time alone to work your body. Connect the mind and body to get the most out of your time. Don’t just go through the motions, it won’t get you anywhere. Think about why you are there, set a clear intention and goal for the session and get to work.
Before you rack up the heavy plates, go through the motions of what you are about to do. If you are doing deadlifts, then get the bar and do some warm ups to get your technique down and to focus in on what you are doing before throwing the plates on. Taking your body through the motions will help it make the neural connections it needs to prepare for a lift and prevent injury. Prime your body and mind, breathe and focus in on what you are about to do. Your workout is your time. Make the most of it.