By Tara Soprano, O2X Injury Prevention Specialist (MS, LAT, ATC, OTC)
A proper warm-up is essential to prepare the body for the physical and mental stress of exercise. But before diving in, there are a few points to consider.
Consider this before you start:
First, how long and intense is your planned workout? If you’re planning for a workout that is long in duration (longer than 20-25 minutes) and lower in intensity, consider a shorter warm-up, so you don’t tax the muscle too greatly. You will likely continue warming-up as the workout gets going.
On the other hand, if you are performing a high intensity workout (sprints, heavy lifts, max effort intervals) your warm-up needs to be longer in order to prepare the body for high stress levels.
Pay attention to high-stressed areas:
Next, look at what muscle groups and movement patterns will be highly stressed in your workout. For example, if your planned workout has deadlifts and pull-ups you’ll want to prepare your hamstrings, glutes, lats, and scapular retractors. To prep for these exercises you will want to choose exercises that include the hip hinge, scapular retraction, and overhead pressing.
Movements to try:
- Unweighted or banded good mornings
- Single leg glute bridge
- Active bar hang
- Single arm overhead press with light weight
These would all be appropriate for the deadlift and pull example. The warm-up movements would target the muscle used or the movement patterns that are part of the main workout. Perform the warm-up movements until your heart rate is slightly elevated, the movements feel fluid, and you feel ready to move with purpose!
Prepare your Core
No matter what your sweat session includes, it’s important to get your core, which includes your hips and spine, ready for action. The core is like the foundation to a house; for the structure to be sound it needs a solid base.
Here are some exercises to prepare your core:
- Quadruped T spine rotation
- Dead bug, and glute bridge.
All these movement should be slow and controlled. Perform all the exercises for 20-30 seconds.
Warming up is essential to prepare your body for the stress of exercise. Key points to consider when warming up are the length and intensity of your workout, movement patterns, and muscle groups that will be highly taxed, and making sure your core is ready to go!