No matter what your preferred method of exercise is, every routine needs a proper warm-up. A proper warm-up is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you avoid injury. It not only prepares your body and mind for more rigorous activity, but it helps with muscle recovery following your workout.
5 Benefits of a Proper Warm Up
Increase core body temperature
The first benefit of a proper warm up is that your body’s core temperature increases. A proper warmup increases blood flow, which raises your body temperature. This allows for blood and oxygen to become more readily available to the working muscles which can help activate the muscles and build muscle endurance.
Increase joint range of motion
By increasing your body temperature and blood flow, this also allows for an increase in the range of motion for your joints. Sudden or heavy movements to stiff joints can potentially cause injury and inflammation. This can lead to pain when walking, standing or putting weight on those joints.
Reduce risk of muscular injury
By increasing your body’s temperature and blood flow, you are also reducing the risk of muscular injury. As your muscles are working, they will need readily available oxygen and blood flow to replenish them.
Improve muscle elasticity
In addition to resupplying your muscles with blood and oxygen, a proper warm up also helps improve your muscle elasticity. This allows for your muscles to lengthen properly as you require them to move. It helps to reduce the risk of stretching the muscles beyond their limits, which can result in a strained muscle, also known as a pulled muscle or potentially tearing the muscle.
Improve muscle performance
A proper warm-up can also ensure better muscle recruitment which can help you achieve more strength and quicker gains. When your muscles are properly warmed up and recruited, you can better isolate muscles during strength training. When your muscles have not been properly warmed up, surrounding muscles compensate, thus leading to less benefit for the targeted muscles and muscle imbalances.
Improve muscle recovery
Lastly, a proper warm up and activation of the muscles can lead to better and more efficient muscle recovery. Muscles are less strained and fatigued when they are properly supplied with blood and oxygen during a workout.
Essentials to a Proper Warm Up
It’s clear why a proper warm up is important but now what does a proper warm up consist of?
There are six essential elements to a proper warm up:
Tissue Mobility Exercises
This can help improve muscle mobility. A foam roller is great for stretching tissue and providing myofascial release.
Muscle Activation Exercises
Include exercises that target stabilizing muscles to reduce risk of injury. This can include exercises that do not necessarily get the heart rate up but work to slowly increase blood flow to the muscles. Examples include Monster Walks and Plank with Reach.
Corrective exercises can improve any muscle imbalances or restrictions. This again ensures that the proper muscles are working and one side or muscle group is not compensating for another. Examples of corrective exercises include 90/90 Hip Turns and Open Half-Kneeling Ankle Mobilizations.
These exercises work to increase the body’s core temperature to increase blood flow. Examples of thermogenesis exercises include 1-Leg Lateral Pogo Hop and Rotating Tuck Jumps.
Dynamic stretches allow the proper muscle groups to warm up for optimal performance. Dynamic stretches are active movements that allow the muscle and joints to go through a full range of motion and mimic real activity. These types of stretches should be performed with little to light weight to increase the muscles readiness while not yet fatiguing the muscle. Example of dynamic stretches included ½ Kneel Abductor Stretch and Knee-Hug to Lateral Lunge with Overhead Reach.
A commonly overlooked element to a proper warm up is mental preparation. It’s important to awaken the nervous system so it’s ready to perform effectively. Key exercises for mental preparation include Agility Ladders and Dot Drill Sequence.
Dynamic versus Static Stretching for a Proper Warm Up
Another common question is “what’s better: dynamic or static stretching?” When it comes to static versus dynamic stretching, we always recommend dynamic stretching to our patients. Static is not nearly as effective as dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is much more effective as it more closely mimics real activity. It involves multiple muscle groups and allows the proper muscles to warm up for optimal performance. It is also extremely beneficial in helping to prevent injury.
Static stretching does not offer as much lasting results and does not prepare the muscle for activity. Static stretching can be used as a cool down process but should not be the sole method used to stretch and rehabilitative muscles.
A Proper Warm Up for YOU
Hopefully by now, you can see why it’s important to include a proper warm up in your workout routine. Whether you’re a runner, love to ride your Peloton, prefer strength training or like to dabble in a mix, your body will always benefit from a proper warm up and cool down! A proper warm up can help improve your workouts and recovery. They will also help you avoid potential injury.
However, if you do find yourself injured or just need a little help with recovery, a chiropractor is a great place to help your body heal naturally and holistically. They can also help you form a warm up routine that is the most effective for your body and workout routines!
Get Treated at Kaizo Health
Our goal at Kaizo Health is to always get you back to feeling 100%. Not only will our doctors provide treatment to help you be pain-free, but we also have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance to make sure you get the most from your benefits so that you can experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready to experience relief from the pain, make an appointment to see us now.
At Kaizo Health, our world-class team of chiropractors in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA, practices an evidence-based approach combining chiropractic care and guided, individualized rehabilitative exercises prescription. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health and strength as best-in-class, state-of-the-art chiropractors. We are here to help! In the meantime, make sure that you check out our blog for more information on the chiropractic field, as well as our free virtual self-assessment chiropractic web app here.