Skipping the warm-up seems like a quick way to save time when you’re in a rush to get through your workout. It’s ok to skip it sometimes right?
Wrong. Skipping the warm-up is a recipe for injury and frustration. Without a proper warm-up, you’re not going to get the full benefits of the exercises that you’re putting so much effort into. You’re quite literally wasting your energy.
Always make time for getting your body warmed up before exercises. You don’t have to do any exotic exercises either. Getting your body ready with a Dynamic Warm-up is simple and takes just a couple of minutes. Dynamic Warm-ups are essentially active stretching. Instead of the traditional idea of lying on the floor and leaning over to stretch during a warm-up, Dynamic Warm-ups get the whole body moving and the heat pumping, just to a lesser intensity than the rest of your workout. They’re a great way to maximize your time, and what’s more, they’re scientifically proven to work.
Pop Your Warm-up
Putting some pop into your warm-up with a Dynamic Warm-up will make this first part of your workout feel more productive and be more fun. There are lots of variations on Dynamic Warm-up exercises, but essentially they include any active movements that you do before you dig into the meat of your workout. They’re especially great for people who do high intensity fitness activities like running or cycling.
A great version of any Dynamic Warm-up is going to include two things:
- Light cardio
- Stretching with movement
Those are the major components! It’s also a great idea to add in work with a foam roller, but that’s not strictly necessary to the Dynamic Warm-up. Ideally you’re going to spend ten minutes doing this, with five for the cardio and five for the stretching with movement. Measure your light cardio by seeing if you can talk through it but are still getting your heart rate up. Without this part, you’re sticking your cake into a cold oven! Think about it – that cake is going to take a lot longer to cook and it’s not going to turn out as well. You don’t want your body to be an undercooked cake!
Some perfect examples of dynamic stretching are:
- Leg swings
- Leg crossovers
- Sun Salutation (yoga)
- Walking lunge
These are just a few examples!
The opposite of a Dynamic Warm-up is static stretching. Think about holding a stretch for a long period of time, as in yoga. We know from the science of sport that this kind of stretching is helpful for a lot of things like mobility and flexibility, but that it doesn’t do a whole lot of good as a warm up.
The goal of a warm-up is to prepare the body for the coming level of activity. You’re getting things started, preheating the oven. Static stretching doesn’t do anything to get the body warm. In fact, static stretches are more effective if you warm up before you do them!
Getting those muscles warm is only part of it. Dynamic Warm-ups also gives your mind the signal that you’re ready to get down to business. They serve as a mental transitions just as much as a physical one. Taking your body through a wide range of motion while increasing the heart rate will set the tone for your entire workout, and you’ll see that in the results!