This post has an element of self discipline learning (for me), almost in the same way that writing lines in school was supposed to work.
Why? Because I made a Rookie mistake a few days ago and I’m suffering because of it… I didn’t warm up properly (to my usual standard) and ended up pushing myself too hard, and pulled a muscle. For the first time ever!
I could give you the reasons behind my mistake, but in reality, they’d basically be excuses, so rather than bore you with all of that, I’ll just accept I made a foolish error. I told you a while ago I would always be honesty with you and it would’ve been easy for me to not let anyone know about this, but I want you to know, partly because I like being open with you and also because you can hopefully learn from my mistake.
I’m out of action (as far as exercises for my upper body goes) for at least two weeks, possibly more. Nooooooo! We all make mistakes and believe me, I’ve learned from this one! I’ve always been an avid fan of warming up and cooling down, but it just goes to show how important it is when the one time I didn’t do a warm up to my usual standard, I ended up with an injury!
So, while I’m getting increasingly angrier with myself with each passing day, I thought I’d write a post about why you should warm up, so you don’t make the same mistake.
Why should you warm up?
I won’t bore you by going into the technical terms, but during a warm up your heart rate increases so your body temperature rises.
Your joints become more flexible and blood is redirected to the working muscles so your muscles and tendons become more pliable…so a warm up will *ahem* prevent injury.
By warming up adequately you’re not only preparing your body physically for the activity you’re about to do; you’re also preparing yourself mentally for it.
How can I warm up?
It’s different for everyone as we all obviously have different bodies. As an example though, I usually do a few mobility exercises (like shoulder rolls and hip rotations) before some warm up cardio. I then add some stretches, followed by a quick pulse raiser (like ten jumping jacks or high knees) as the final step before beginning my workout, to make sure my body is completely ready for it.
Oh, and as far as weight lifting goes, I don’t go straight into lifting heavy…I like to work my way up to ensure my body is prepared.
I will talk about mobility exercises more in my next blog post as I’d like to give you a few warm up examples for if you’re uncertain on what to do.
How long should my warm up be?
This is a difficult question to answer because everyone will need a different amount of time dedicated to a warm up, with numerous factors affecting that.
Generally speaking though, the CV part of the warm up would normally need to be around 5-10 minutes. By the end of a warm up you should definitely feel warm, you shouldn’t be on the way to getting warm…you should feel totally ready to workout.
However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t be sweating during a warm up though. If you are, then it’s likely you’ve gone too hard too soon. Take your time and remember how important it is… The one time I didn’t warm up properly, I got an injury. If that doesn’t show how important warming up is then I don’t know what will!
Would you be interested in seeing some tutorial videos for mobility exercises and stretches for a warm up, rather than just a written post next time?
As soon as I’m fully back in action I’m thinking of creating a few tutorial posts (with videos) for some gym exercises too, and I might include a cool down post as well. What do you think?
Any suggestions of exercises you’d like to see a tutorial on?