Crank Up The Heat On Your Warm-Up Routine!
You’ve been crushing your workouts, but what about your warm up? There are plenty of excuses for skimping on this important component: fear of fatigue, crunched for time, or unsure of what to do! Put your excuses aside because a proper warm-up will increase your gains and could even help you break through that plateau you’ve been facing.
Lucky for you, GymnasticBodies has your back with all of the proper exercises and information you need to safely and efficiently warm up all of your joints and muscles. Warming up properly before strength training workouts is crucial for your performance and for preventing injury.
We will take you through the what, why, and how of properly warming up for your next workout.
Why Warm Up?
For many experienced trainees, the need for a thorough full-body warm-up may seem rather intuitive and self-explanatory at this advanced stage in their fitness journey. On the other hand, many newcomers to Gymnastics Strength Training™ might not yet understand why it is necessary to even warm-up at all.
Think of your muscles, tendons, and ligaments like rubber bands: if you took a frozen rubber band and tried to stretch it out, what would happen? It would snap! Sure, your body is a bit more complex, but the principle remains. Starting off your warm up with some light cardio is going to direct blood to your muscles and prime your body for your workout session. You want to get your muscles (rubber bands) loose and stretchy before proceeding with your workout.
Your warm-up should also help prepare your attitude, getting you psychologically prepared for the upcoming training session. With the countless potential distractions of modern life, it is easy to just go through the motions while you are at the gym. Instead, use your warm-up to help you hone in on what needs to be done so that you can approach your workout with a laser-like focus.
Phase One: The Cardiovascular Crux
A proper warm-up should do a few key things in the body. First, it should quite literally warm you up by increasing your core body temperature and blood flow to your limbs and extremities. By heating up your body, you are making your muscles, fascia, and connective tissues more pliable so that they can move more easily without restriction.
Warming up with some light cardio is going to direct blood to your muscles and get your body primed for the rest of your workout. GB Trainer Leo Trinidad uses dancing to get his blood pumping while GB Affiliates like GymnasticBodies Nomad have developed a passion for jump roping to warm their bodies. Jogging, biking to the gym, jumping jacks, or even hanging out in a sauna will increase your heart rate and the blood flow to your muscles. Before this phase is over you want to be sweating!
Phase Two: Limber Up to Level Up
There are no miracle cures in the fitness world but daily limbering is one of those dominant habits that proves it’s weight in gold as it provides heaps of benefits. This is why daily limbering is considered a crucial component of GSTTM. You can easily add this to your fitness routine and see some unbelievable results including improved posture, reduced soreness or pain, and increased performance!
On workout days, your limbering routine should be performed right after your cardio. This topic is covered in more depth during Fundamentals, our Introductory Level Course, designed to help complete novices safely begin strength training. We are not suggesting you spend a long time stretching deeply before a workout. Limbering consists of gentle, short pauses in a variety of positions. The intention is to mobilize your body in all directions. Doing this will keep your muscles fresh and loose, improving how you feel and move throughout the day.
Following up your warm up with some limbering will also increase blood flow to your muscles which is great when preparing for exercise. Limbering will also help you perform better by making you feel fresh and mobile while reducing pain, stiffness, or soreness. Not to mention, limbering is a good chance to get in tune with your body, scan how it feels, and mentally prepare for the upcoming session.
Warming up should prepare your joints for the ranges of motion that are required during your workout. Coach Christopher Sommer, the founder of GymnasticBodies, often refers to this aspect of the warm-up as a "daily limbering" session. This section of the warm-up should consist of low-intensity, full range of motion movements through each of the major joints in your body.
Phase Three: Show Off Your Hard Earned Skills
Now that your blood is pumping and your muscles are loose, it’s time to enjoy some exercises you have previously perfected or mastered. It always feels rewarding to breeze through movements that, just months ago, may not have even been possible for you.
These should be movements that you are familiar with so that they are not a shock to your muscles, joints, or nervous system. Be sure they relate to your workout by including easier variations of the upcoming exercises. This will wake your muscles up and let them know what is ahead. The progressive nature of the GymnasticBodies Courses will make your exercise selection simple and effective. It’s the perfect place to gather exercises that will fit into your toolset of strength and mobility. Set yourself up for success and finalize your workout preparation with the best techniques.
Whether your fitness routine gets you the results you want ultimately depends on your ability to string together effective workouts for days, weeks, and months in a row. With that in mind, the success of any one individual workout starts with how well you thoroughly warm-up your entire body. World class training requires a world-class GymnasticBodies warm up, so turn up the heat and start your next workout off the right way!