Today I'm sharing the basics of what a warm up should include.
First off, all workouts need to start out with a warm up. Whether it's a strength training or cardio workout, a warm up is very important to both. Warm ups can take as little as five minutes (though ten is ideal), but they have huge benefits. Some of these benefits include
- slowly increase heart rate.
- help to lubricate joints.
- range of motion.
- prepares your body for your workout.
In terms of what should be included in a warm up, you should focus on the body parts that you'll be working on during your workout. For instance, if you're doing a lower body strength training workout, your warm up should focus on your lower body.
There should be three main components to your warm up.
- Cardio – cardio is meant to get your heart rate up, increase blood flow, and your body moving. Start out slow and very gradually increase the intensity. For example, spend 5 minutes on the elliptical or bike.
- Stretching – Focus on dynamic, active stretching. The range of motion should be similar to the range of motion that you'll be doing during your workout. Avoid static stretching as much as possible.
- Similar activities – this is meant to be a sort of skill rehearsal for the things that you'll be doing during your workout. For instance, if you'll be doing barbell squats, do some bodyweight squats to get the hips, knees, and ankles going through the range of motion that they'll be going through during the workout.
Once your warm up has been completed, your workout should begin within 15 minutes. If you wait more than 15 minute between your warm up and workout then you won't be getting the benefits if your warm up.
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As always, these are general guidelines for healthy people. If you have any injuries or medical conditions, be sure to consult your doctor or fitness professional for more specific guidelines.