Warm-up Your Workouts
Grand Lake, CO Colorado
In exercise programs, oftentimes missing is an adequate warm-up segment.
Just as we would begin a presentation with an introduction to the topic reviewing all of the salient points that will be covered, we need to begin our workout with an introduction, preparing the mind and body so we may perform optimally.
The duration, specificity and intensity of the warm-up will vary depending upon the type of workout you will be performing. A proper warm-up should clear the mind in preparation for exertion, elevate the body’s core temperature – much like we warm-up our car on a cold morning – increasing the viscosity at the joints of the body, elevating heart rate to the base of the target heart rate zone, a 1-2 (i.e. very light/light exertion) on the RPE Scale or the base of Zone 1 of the heart rate training zones.
The movements performed should mimic those that will be performed during the workout. Think of this time as the “rehearsal” for the workout. Dynamic general body movements which engage the large muscle masses and joints of the body are suggested as these large masses, when moved through a proper range of motion effectively, will generate energy, generating heat, warming up the body, literally (you should begin to lightly perspire).
There is still a controversy within the fitness industry about whether static stretching has a place during warm-up. In general, the research indicates that held (static) stretches are best reserved for the cool down segment of the workout. This is due to the fact that the body is simply not prepared to safely and effectively respond to static/held stretches during the warm-up segment.
Below are a few examples of warm-ups for specific workouts and activities. Keep in mind that the duration of a warm-up also should take into consideration the age, fitness level and any limitations of the client. In general, we lengthen the duration of our warm-ups as our clients age, or if the fitness level is beginner or novice level and to address specific limitations of the client. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
• Step Aerobics – 5-10 minute warm-up which includes lower intense versions of the movements and choreography performed during the step aerobics segment, performed on and off the step. The warm-up duration should reflect the duration of the step aerobics segment (i.e. the longer you are stepping, the longer the warm-up segment).
• Running – 5-10 minutes fitness walking or jogging on similar terrain as you will be encountering during your run. The longer the duration of the run, the longer the warm-up.
• Indoor Group Cycling – 5-10 minutes of low intensity cycling, perhaps on flats and easy inclines/hills, easy accelerations to simulate the intervals performed during the body of the ride, and as with running, the longer the duration of the ride, the longer the warm-up.
• Weight Training – 5-10 minutes of low intensity cycling/ walking/ stepping, including performing low intensity versions (i.e. no weight or external resistance) of the exercises you will be performing during the training session (i.e. squats/lunges/chest press/rows, etc.).
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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