We have been told a million times that warm up before workout is important but still not many of us spend that 10-15 minutes warming up. One of the reason behind this is that most of the people are ignorant about the various benefits that a warm up session before workout can have.
In this article, first we will look at the importance of warming up and then we will look at various exercises to get the blood flowing.
Benefits of warm-up
There are many people who believe that a good 10-15 min warm up will exhaust them and will degrade their performance in the gym. It is exactly opposite from the truth. When you warm up properly you are driving the blood to the different part of body, more blood means more oxygen and oxygen is important for your muscle to perform better.
Just FYI: The muscles of highly trained athletes have the ability to absorb 30% more oxygen from the blood. That is the reason they can run faster and longer.
The main purpose of warm up is to increase the body temperature and an increase in body temperature leads to many physiological changes in the body. Like, the muscle viscosity reduces which means you can run faster and pick up heavier without getting injured.
And, when a body is warm the more oxygen gets dissociated more easily from haemoglobin which means more oxygen available to the muscle fibres.
Getting injured while working out is very common and there might be no man who never got injured but the rate of injury is very less in people who warm up properly before every workout. A warm up can be as simple and easy as few stretching exercises or it can be as difficult as a little cardio.
Now, there is a doubt in people’s mind, whether they should warm up upper body on the days of lower body and lower body on the days of upper body workout. Because if you are train legs then warming up your shoulder won’t be that necessary to prevent injury.
I’ll answer it by saying, there are 3 types of warm up:
- Passive warm-up – This is a type of warm up, you non-actively try to increase the temperature of your body. Like, sitting near fire or by wearing warm clothes. This can be very helpful in colder countries or in an air-conditioned gym. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing upper and lower body, passive warm-up will help you.
- General warm-up – This is an active way to warming up your body temperature. In this, you don’t train a particular muscle group, but instead you do stretches and exercises that warm up the entire body. Running and jumping jacks are two example of general warm-up.
- Specific warm-up – In this we work on specific muscles to give them extra blood, so that they can perform better in later in the workout.
So, on the upper body day, it is not necessary for you to warm up your hams or calves separately but you should always do general warm-up, no matter what day it is. And, it is better to wear full clothes, to keep your body retain the temperature, especially if you take long breaks between sets.
Helps lung breath
I have heard people say that too much warming up will tire the lungs and it will mess with the real workout session. Actually, I use to think the same way. But, there is a ‘but’ attached to it. A good warm up exercises that will open your lungs and makes the breathing easier and you will need this when you lift.
Try this: Take deep breathes for at least 2-3 minutes. After you’ll stop, you will notice that you can breath more and effortlessly.
It goes with exercising too. But, it is okay to exhaust a little bit. Many people are so scared to exhaust themselves that they never push their limits. It is okay to experiment. In all honesty, if you don’t have a trainer then it is very necessary to experiment.
Helps to break sweat
No matter how stressful a weight training session is, it is hard to break sweat just by lifting weights. Sweating in the gym has both psychological and physical benefits. A good 10-15 minute run will open up your lungs, increase the body temperature and make you sweat easily. I know many people, will tell you against it, but use your own brain and then come to a conclusion. Or, like Leonardo Da Vinci, experiment and analyse.
When the drops of sweat starts dripping down your body, it is a performance booster in it self. Makes you feel like a beast. When your body is little sweat, it gives you a cool and refreshing feel, and helps you remain energized through out the workout session.
In the recent past, I have heard lots of people saying that weight training helps you burn fat not only during, but also after the workout. This is true to some extent but if burning fat is your goal then there is nothing better then cardio. Cardio burns fat and it helps you warm up properly.
I’ll tell you how running or another cardio exercise can help to burn more fat and that too fast. In order to burn fat, you need to work some muscle, it doesn’t matter which muscle it is. There is no thing as spot reduction. So, say you are using your biceps muscle a lot, then it will burn fat from entire body, especially from your belly. So, thee more muscle you use, the more fat you’ll lose. Unfortunately, you can’t use small muscles like biceps and triceps for a long time but what you can do is run and jog for a very long time. In every cardio you use your legs a lot.