Seriously, Do I Need to Warm-Up?


If you’ve been to a gym, you’ve probably had this thought cross your mind. Do I really need to warm-up first before my workout?

While it might not seem necessary or you might have a small time frame to get your workout in, taking the time to perform a 10-15 minute warm-up before working out is integral to preventing injuries.

Physiologically, warming up prior to a sport or recreational activity serves to increase the total body temperature in preparation for exercise. You are literally warming up the body. This will help increase the range of motion in both joints and muscles, as well as enhance the contractile efficacy of the muscles.

Skipping your warmup before exercising raises your risk of injury because tight muscles are more prone to tearing and stiff joints often become painful when loaded.

And don’t forget the cool-down. Always conclude your fitness activities with a sufficient cool-down to minimize any stiff and sore muscles the following day. This can include static stretching (holding stretches for 3-60 seconds) and foam rolling.

Sample Warm-ups

Foam Rolling
-Target your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps with foam rolling.
Why it works: This serves to elicit muscle relaxation and effectively improves range of motion.

Dynamic Stretches
– Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching involves active movements to help joints and muscles go through a rang of motion. They include leg swings, toe touches, knee to chest grabs, and lunges with rotation.
Why it works: Tapping into the stretch reflex and waking up the neuromuscular system is especially important prior to a plyometric workout. Avoid static stretching (30-60 second holds) prior to your workout as this temporarily weakens muscle fibers.

Activation Exercises
– Activation exercises target the muscles you plan on working in your workout. Add in lateral band walks and planks.
Why it works: Turning on the right muscles will help them contract optimally when you need them, thereby avoiding injury.

Written by PRO Club

For a sport-specific or an individualized warm-up, make an appointment with a PRO Medical Physical Therapist or PRO Personal Trainer.

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