Welcome to part 1 of our 3 part warm-up series.
Today, we cover the why and hope to convince you that no matter what your workout consists of, it should start with a properly designed warm-up.
The warm up is most effective when used as a building block to actively work towards your goals. It’s your first opportunity to get from point A to point B.
Point A: sitting in your car, sitting at your desk, rolling out of bed, or not generally being active.
Point B: Being active, training at the gym, to running, or whatever your sport might be.
A broader perspective of A to B, depending on your goals could be long term reduction of pain and soreness, increased performance, an upgrade in movement quality, or collectively all three.
First, let’s discuss why we warm up and the common goals looking to be achieved.
#1 Increase core temperature
We all know that exercise will increase core temperature significantly. This is the first step in bridging that gap from inactivity, to the level of activity you’ll be working at during your training session. This will help lubricate joints, helping improve both pain and stiffness prior to your workout.
#2 Increase local blood flow
This part of the warm-up is designed to direct more blood, nutrient and energy circulation to the tissue you will be using during your training session.
#3 Improve proprioception
Simply put, proprioception is an awareness of your body in space. Knowing where your leg is in space, what your hips are doing, what your shoulders are doing, and how they interact, then your knowledge of kinetic awareness (body working together as one big chain) improves. This improves the way you move and align your body, leading to improvements in performance and a reduction in injury.
#4 Increase range of motion
This will help to improve your flexibility and the range-of-motion you will be able to work through in your training. By improving motion in certain areas, you are even able to improve your posture.
#5 Increase performance
Combine the 4 reasons above and you've set yourself up for success. Your body will be more ready to train and will see an increase in strength, power, speed, stability and agility and a decrease in fatigue.
#6 Limit the potential for injury
By opening up these ranges of motion, by involving the nervous system, by increasing blood flow to the tissue being worked, we can limit the potential for injuries.
If you’re even warming up at all, historically there have been two common practices used to prepare for a workout.
First, a general warm up. Usually involving a few minutes of basic calisthenics, like running on the treadmill, hopping on the exercise bike, maybe even some jumping jacks, or jump rope.
Second, would be static stretching. Now, pair these two modalities up with the common goals above and see if they meet the objectives.
In a general warm up you can’t argue that there is an increase of core temperature, and an increase of local blood flow.
But, proprioception is NOT improved.
There is no calling out of any specific aspects of movements that you might be working through.
There is also NO increase in range of motion.
You are not asking your body to work through larger ranges of motion and there is no real decrease in your risk of injury.
For this, all five components need to be working in a holistic way.
With static stretching you’re only meeting one of the five components by only working on an increase in range of motion.
The coaches at DSC take the warm up serious.
We believe in applying a systematic approach to bridge theses gaps.
We have this system in place, along with other systems for two reasons.
First is that we’re always studying and reaching out to others in our industry, so that we can improve the system and what goes in it.
Second, so that you, our DSC family leave each training session feeling better than when you first got to the gym. Helping you get from A to B.
Doing these warm-ups on a daily basis helps them become a habit and gives you the opportunity to take ownership of these components to work through on your own, at home and in the gym.