Oh come on, we know like 90% of us don’t – well at least not every time! And that’s probably doubly true when it comes to going for a run, and p.s. a slow jog is NOT a warm up!
Everyone’s heard the advice, without a good warm up, injury may occur. BUT, many of us have never been injured so that’s an empty threat; something fitness professionals say on a whim to encourage us to do our warm up.
Forget about injury as the reason…
Your workout is less efficient
You are getting fewer results from your workout by NOT focusing on the importance of your warm up.
The warm up is really there to mobilise specific areas of your body and to encourage better movement patterns and efficiency.
In a nutshell this means, by warming up you get a better range of movement. This in turn leads to better muscle activation, heavier weights, harder movements, better tone and that affects results!
Warming up your hip flexors probably doesn’t feature in a our path towards goals like strengthening your core (which is one we hear a lot from women) but it should. Same goes for the always popular ‘toning my butt and legs’.
Postural elements such as tight hip flexors, quads, chest and biceps impede your effectiveness at targeting areas such as your lower abdominals, butt and legs.
In an ideal world, all our workouts would take notice of 3 key terms you’d find in any “fitness dictionary”:
Effective: getting to the correct place or area;
Efficient: Being able to perform movements with a good transfer of energy – think of it like being streamline through the water, a fish is much more streamlined than a human, meaning they use less energy. Being efficient with your workouts means you use energy in the right places;
Activation: Getting the musculoskeletal system to work to its full capacity. Many of us train one muscle alone, which teaches our body to switch off or not use its musculoskeletal system well. Activation in a warm up means getting your butt, abs, hamstring and back to all realise they need to work together, there’s little use in ‘just switch on the bum’.
So, focusing on your warm ups (and tailoring them to your workouts) can make a difference to how efficiently and effectively your musculoskeletal system is activated ergo how efficient and effective the time you spend working out will be.
If your hip flexors and chest are rather tight, or if you lack a beneficial range of movement in these areas (which is a large majority of us) when it’s time to perform most ‘core’ exercises, you will find accessing those core muscles harder…especially the lower abs. Stretching out your chest muscles and hip flexors (and bonus…front of thigh) PRIOR to a core workout can give you way more access to those abs.
Making your warm up related to what you are actually going to be working out THAT day is crucial, so consider the following…
What am I working out today and what do I need to mobilise?
Where am I tight and what do I need to activate?
Do I need to be doing any jumping movements? If so, what do I need to put in my warm up to help prep me for this?
Similarly, am I doing heavy weights…what do I need to use in my warm up to get my body ready for this?
We recommend incorporating a circuit into your warm up so you can build up as you go – it should be between 5 and 10 minutes and you should feel out of breath and a bit sweaty from the warm up.
What you won’t find below is single muscle group warm ups “butt activation exercises” anyone? You have ZERO muscles in your body which work alone. If your aim is to tone your butt, don’t work it alone. If you do this, when you come to squat, other muscle groups such as your quads (front of your thighs) will often switch on more than your glutes.
If putting all that together sounds a bit outside your comfort zone, check the one below that we use before our full body strength and circuit classes.
Like everything, it can take time getting used to something new like a longer more tailored warm up, but the benefits of doing so mean it really is a great investment of time and energy. We change our studio warm ups multiple times a year, but each and every time our members warm up, we want their bodies ready to get the most from the time they’re working out!