Protocols for warming up
*Safety note, never forcefully stretch a cold muscle. This can cause serious injury.
Purpose of the warm up:
The purpose of the warm up is to safely prepare the body for exercise and reduce injury. Not to mention getting you mentally prepared to put in the work. The warm up will always be dependent on the environment and the planned workout. The colder the outside or core body temperature, the more time you should plan to warm up. For example, if I am doing a beach workout in Mexico, I might only take 3 minutes to warm up. If I am going to be doing outdoor strongman training, in the middle of winter, in the Rocky Mountains, I would take 30 minutes or more to warm up.
What happens during a warm up:
As the core temperate comes up, you increase blood flow to the muscles, increase control over the nervous system, decrease friction and tension in muscles. You should warm up to the point where you feel a light sweat and mentally prepared to complete you exercise. I often find that taking an extended warm up is sometimes needed to get my mind totally in the game or to help me detach from the days stresses.
Passive warm ups:
This is the most underutilized type of warm up. This includes hot showers, hot pads, massage, steam rooms, saunas, etc. These methods help bring up the core temp without pre-fatiguing the body. Great for competitors or individuals trying to work on heavy lifting or record breaking. If you have a training partner or teammates, you can help each other passively warm up by rubbing shoulders or joints. It shouldn’t be done like a deep tissue massage, it is more of just a gentle rub to create friction and heat.
General warm ups:
Basic activity like jogging, cycling, or jump rope. If you are deconditioned, then walking should be enough. These warm ups do not focus on muscle specific movements, but do achieve the main goal of bringing the core temp up. I have most of my clients start of on the rowing machine for a general warm up because it hits all the muscles and gives you extra work for the posterior chain.
Specific warm ups:
These warm ups include light movements or reps that mimic the workout about to be completed. If you are doing a leg workout, maybe you warm up with body weight squats or easy reps on the leg press (After your general warm up). You can include other movements like foam rolling, mobility work with resistance bands, pausing in depth positions for a light dynamic stretch, or working up in weight <50% effort. Remember to NEVER do a static stretch before your workout. Static stretches should only be done after muscles are warm, so they can be done at the end of an extended warm up to help prepare for specific activities like dance, gymnastics, diving, or yoga.
Dynamic warm ups:
Dynamic warm ups are most often used by athletes, but more and more people every day are including them for their own warm up. A dynamic warm up includes movements in multiple planes, intensities, speeds, and directions. This can include ladder drills, mobility work, drills with bands, plyometrics, sleds, etc.
At Body Temple Aesthetics we like to always make sure our client’s are properly warmed up. I personally like to give them a general warm up on the rower (time varying depending on outdoor temperature and client’s mood), then we work on some foam rolling, and use dynamic and specific warm ups to get started into our workouts.
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