Making it to the gym is often half the battle, but once you’re there, how you do get started? The challenge of any great workout is the proper warm-up. For starters, lets dispel the notion that plodding along on treadmill at a leisurely pace doesn’t come close to sufficient. If your goal is to burn calories and build lean muscle then we need to approach our warm-up much differently.
Why do we need to warm-up? Preparing the body for vigorous exercise by raising the total body temperature, as well as warming up the muscles helps to prepare and protect the body from injury. Cold muscles with low blood flow are more susceptible to injury. Warming up properly will increase range of motion and prevent muscle and joint stiffness.
The best and most effective method of warming-up includes movements that will become part of the workout. For instance, performing 10-20 squats before progressing to the workout squats using weights. This is beneficial because it increases the temperature of the specific muscles that will be used in more intense activity later in the workout.
Length and intensity of the warm-up should be adjusted to each individual depending on level of fitness. In most cases however, 5-10 minutes is sufficient time for most individuals to break into a light sweat. A very important point to note, is that stretching should never be used to warm up. Instead, stretching should always follow the workout.
So let’s get out there and get warmed up!
Michael A. DiCillo
Executive Director & Certified Personal Trainer
The Lu-Jean Feng Clinic