A Trainer Explains the Proper Way to Warm Up Before Hitting the Weights
We've all arrived at the gym, quickly throwing our belongings into a locker and jumping straight into our workout. This may seem harmless, but warming up is critical to maximizing your workout. If this alone hasn't convinced you, just look at what athletes at all levels do before a competition. If they're a hurdler, they practice going over the hurdles a few times, they make sure their fast twitch muscles are firing, and they get ready to run fast.
The primary goal of a warmup is to prepare someone mentally and physically for exercise/competition. Ian Jeffries, PhD, MSc, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, professor of strength and conditioning, wrote, "A well designed warm-up can increase muscle temperature, core temperature, blood flow, and also disrupt transient connective tissue bonds." He also found that warming up has the following effects on performance:
- Improvements in rate of force development and reaction time.
- Improvements in muscle strength and power.
- Increased blood flow to active muscles.
- Enhanced metabolic reactions.
Get the most out of your workout by completing a dynamic warmup — moving as you stretch and activate your muscles — before each workout.