By Myprotein Writer Tyler Stark
Warming up may seem like a waste of time when you want to crack on with your training, when in fact a pre-workout routine can be the most beneficial aspect to increase your overall fitness level.
The benefits of warming up include elevated heart rate, increased blood flow, increased flow of synovial fluid and overall getting your mindset right to power through your workout with 100% effort.
Many may skip this short but essential part of their workout, but few know how important this time is. Although it may take an additional 5-10 minutes of time in the gym, the rewards you will reap will be all worth it.
Elevated heart rate
Elevating your heart rate is a very vital attribute in your daily warm-up for multiple reasons. By warming up, your overall body temperature is raised which enhances and primes muscular function.
Muscular contraction and relaxation is improved, as well as muscular elasticity – both of which lower the opportunity for over stretching or pulling/tearing the muscle as a whole.
Increased blood flow is very crucial in ensuring a proper warm-up has been done. Just 5 minutes on the treadmill or a lap around the track, this slight exertion of force will get the muscle primed for the work ahead.
When blood flow increases, it also takes away the strain and stress from the heart. Blood vessels dilate and force blood to the area being worked, hence giving the most vital organ in your body a break.
Increased flow of synovial fluid
New gym-goers, bodybuilders, world class athletes – they will all experience aches and pains at some point. It’s just part
of the game. However, you can combat some of these aggravations by properly priming your body.
Synovial fluid is the fluid that helps with the reduction of friction between cartilages. Activating this fluid production can be helpful to avoiding knee, back, and shoulder pains usually associated with lifting.
Warming up the knee/patella tendon and hip joint for squats and warming up the rotator cuff/shoulder joint for any chest or shoulder exercises will save you a lot of heart and muscle ache in the future. This provides a so-called cushion that acts as a barrier between the two joints being worked.
The right mindset
My favorite benefit from warming up is the amount of mental preparation it provides. This warm-up is the time where you forget about the bills, forget about work, and forget about everything in the outside world for the hour or so you have in the gym.
A lot of the golden age bodybuilders credit much of their success to their pre-workout routine that usually involves some sort of religious mental concentration – not necessarily a powdered drink they’d down before hand.
Many pros would imagine the exact routine for the specific workout they would be doing that day. For example, some would imagine the stretch and flex they would achieve during flyes or the pump they would endure during some curls.
Being mentally prepared makes your workout much smoother as well. There is no worrying about sets/reps/rest- you just go in and get the job done which ultimately creates a much more intense workout.
Dorian Yates might be the most iconic figure in the sport when it comes to intensity. Dorian would be so in tune with what his workout was and the exact routine with sets and reps he would perform; he only needed one set per exercise to completely obliterate each muscle group. No one can match that intensity but we can get in tune with ourselves, get some music on, and get going.
Walking on the treadmill is an excellent way of moderately warming up your body. It’s low impact and also gets your heart rate up and the blood flow moving.
For a more advanced warm up, the following might be some great options:
– Jump rope 5 minutes (30 seconds work/30 seconds off)
– Tabata Bodyweight Lunges/ Bodyweight Squats
– High Knees/Butt Kicks/Walking Lunges
– Kettle Bell Swings
Take home message
Incorporating some type of warm-up in your routine can be very beneficial on many different levels other than just “getting warm”.
So the next time you hit the gym, have your pre-workout 10 minutes earlier, grab a jump rope or hop on a treadmill and get your body ready to smash a workout!