Do you really need to warm up before a workout?

At SRSC we believe that a proper warm up is key to your health, fitness, and athletic progress.

We have sometimes had visitors come in for a workout ready to get right to it, standing around waiting for the coach to give instruction. Or come in 2 minutes before the workout begins, just enough time to use the restroom and find a spot for their water bottle. They look at our members warming up and wonder what they have missed.

If you DON’T warm up properly your muscles and joints aren’t ready to perform correctly, which could increase your chance of injury, decrease your performance, and simply make for an unenjoyable workout. If you show up at the gym and just jump into your workout, you’re spending the workout trying to ‘find the groove’ rather than actually getting real, focused training done.

If you DO warm up properly, you allow blood to flow through your joints and muscles – telling them that it’s time to get into action, which will improve their range of motion so that you can properly perform each movement in your workout. You ‘wake up’ your central nervous system to prepare it for the demands you’re about to place on it. You dial in your breathing. You get centered and focused so you can do some real work,

You should start your workout feeling alert, capable, and ready to crush your training for the day. And you can only do this with a proper warm up.

Here’s how:

Get the blood flowing

Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the class start time. We begin with a little warm up to get the heart pumping: 400 meter jog/row or 2 minutes on the Airdyne or jump roping.

Mobility work

From there we do some mobility work to loosen the joints: mashing out sore muscles, resistance band stretching/joint flossing and PVC work (think: shoulder pass through).

Dynamic wha???

Dynamic stretching comes next. What’s that, you ask? When your muscles are warm, move continuously without holding yourself in any one position. Here are some of our favorites: sampson stretch, squat waves, inchworm, dislocates, scorpion, sitting bull, jesus stretch. (Yes, some of these are names we’ve made up and I have no idea what they are called elsewhere.)

Practice movements

Once you’ve literally warmed up your body, then prepared your muscles for working with mobility work and dynamic stretching, it’s time to ‘warm up’ your brain! We may practice some of the the movements in the day’s workout using bodyweight, a PVC pipe or an empty bar – especially if they are technical movements that are new to you.

Here’s an example of the warm up (and cool down is here too) of a client’s customized program:

And here is what our warm up board looks like to guide anyone that doesn’t have a customized warm up:

So again, I ask, do you really warm up before a workout?