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Friday, December 25, 2015

The One Thing You’re Not Doing that Could Jeopardize Your Workout Success

Getting that warrm-up in...for all the right reasons
“What do you MEAN we haven’t even started the workout yet?” my client breathlessly asked me, wiping her forehead with her sleeve. “This couldn’t just be the warm-up!”

I attempted a mischievous smile. Admittedly, I derive a modicum of pleasure knowing even my warm-ups begin to push and challenge my clients. I explained that this was her chance to get the blood flowing, muscles moving, and her head in the game.

I cry a little bit on the inside every time people run into the gym and immediately start throwing a bunch of weight around (and I see it ALL the time). Their only warm-up entails putting on headphones and filling up a water bottle. If you want a surefire way to guarantee injury, head straight into some deadlifts.

If you asked me the most important part of a workout, without hesitation I would reply the warm-up.

Every session I do includes a dynamic warm-up, which involves moving while you’re stretching compared with

old-school “static stretching,” which can actually decrease performance and make you weaker!

Here’s why you spend 10-15 minutes incorporating a thorough dynamic warm-up into your routine.

1. Muscle activation. Moving and jumping around increases blood flow to your muscles, which supplies them with more oxygen. Simply put, it gets the muscles you’re going to use ready to, well, work!

2. Improved range of motion. Feeling stiff and tight? A good warm-up helps loosen you up and make you feel more flexible.

3. Neuromuscular connection. That’s a scientific way to say it helps you become a little more coordinated by getting your mind and your muscles communicating to each other.

4. Improved performance. If you want to lift a little heavier, run a little faster or last a little longer, research suggests a dynamic warm-up can help those things happen.

Some circles (I won’t name names) pride themselves on saying things like “Our warm-up is harder than your workout.” 

Well, la-ti-da!

With anything fitness related, you want to consider where YOU need to be. You want to scale your warm-up according to your current fitness level. Ideally, it should get you breathing harder and sweating, but it shouldn’t exhaust you or make you say ridiculous things to impress others.

My favorite moves to include in a dynamic warm-up are simply the same movements you’ll be doing during the workout -only without weights i.e. lunges, squats and push-ups. I also like to throw some jump rope into the mix. It steps up your heart rate and improves coordination. If you aren’t quite ready to jump rope, you can always do jumping jacks or simply run in place.

As much as I love dynamic stretching, adding a few minutes of light, static stretching (meaning, just holding the stretch) at the end of your workout when your muscles are warm and pliable becomes a great cool-down method that also decreases muscle soreness and improves flexibility.   

What’s YOUR warm-up routine? Have your thoughts about warming up changed since you started working out? Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook page .

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!
© 2015 Jinifit, Inc.

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