You've just stepped into the gym, feeling rested and ready for a great workout. Before you pick up the weights, it’s probably a good idea to warm up, right?
A well structured warm can be beneficial to help:
- Increase heart rate, core temperature and blood flow
- Reduce inappropriate stiffness and improve range of motion
- Enhance focus and prepare you mentally for your training
But where to start?
True, you could ride the stationary bike for 10 minutes and then stumble through an assortment of uncomfortable stretches which you swiped from the gym posters.
Or you could have a plan of attack. Here is one simple way to organize your warm up:
Soft tissue work - Whether you use a foam roller, lacrosse ball or other instrument of torture, this can be a good place to start ironing out the kinks. Remember to go slow and breathe. Time: ~ 5 mins
Stretch - If you decide to add a passive stretch (which may or may not be necessary, but that’s a topic for another day), do so with a purpose. First, find some tissue that needs to be lengthened. Second, find an appropriate stretch that helps improve that restricted range of motion. And third, put away your phone, get comfortable and breathe.
Time ~ 5 mins
Movement Prep - A good movement prep aims to improve two things: mobility and stability. Find areas where you feel stiff and limited and wisely add in some active motion. Become aware of patterns that feel unbalanced and unstable and gain some control and steadiness.
Time ~ 10-20 minutes
Feeling better? Great. Now go enjoy your workout.