I love coming up with new ideas to get stronger, faster, and more flexible by the workouts I program. At the end of the day, I’m here to provide you with workouts to get you feeling confident and in the best shape of your life! But I also spend a lot of time focusing on prep and recovery — getting solid warm-up in before every workout and stretching for at least a few minutes every day, maybe even longer on rest/recovery days. Sometimes it’s hard to make yourself do these things, but I want to remind you how important it is to take care of our bodies outside of training, and when you start to incorporate it into your routine you’ll never go back!! I put together the most important reasons to incorporate warming up and stretching below..
Never skip a warm up:
- Warming up preps your body for a workout by gradually raising your heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to let your body know you’re about to MOVE. Consider it a gentle wake up call. You know, like waking up to the soothing sound of birds chirping vs waking up to cold water being dumped on you lol.
- By warming up major muscle groups (think legs, back, chest, arms, etc), you not only prevent risk of injury but use these 5-10 minutes to help you get even more out of your workout. If your muscles are nice and warm, they’ll be more mobile and flexible which improves athletic performance.
- My top tip for warming up is to make it dynamic. Think major muscle groups, a large range of motion, and plenty of repetition! A good mix of raising your heart rate (jumping jacks, heel taps, high knees) and stretching (holding/pulsing in a low lunge, gentle twists for the spine, down dog/forward fold, walkouts) is the best to prep for your body.
- Need a good lower body glute activation circuit for before your leg day?? I gotchu covered! Click here for four great banded glute exercises to fire them up. I love Recreation Sweat’s non-slip resistance bands for these!
Always always stretch:
- First and foremost, stretching is a great way to increase blood flow, increase flexibility, relieve tension, and remove buildup of lactic acid.
- Stretching reduces risk of injury by increasing mobility. The more mobile you become, the greater range of motion you have to move within without injury.
- Stretching keeps the muscles long and strong and for that reason, stretching is beneficial even on days when you’re not training. When we sit for too long, our muscles contract and shorten. Stretching on off days will keep your muscles from shortening to the point of weakness so that you’re ready to train whenever!
- I prefer dynamic stretching (more movement-based. The stretch position is not held) before workouts and static stretching (holding a certain stretch for at least 20-30 seconds) after your workout.
Trust me, I know that it can be tempting to skip a warm up or a stretch when you’re in a time crunch but even a few minutes makes all the difference!! And I’ve got your back to get you started — check out this upper body mobility flow and this full body mobility flow.
Hydro Cell USA says
I honestly skip warm-up exercises sometimes but now I know how important it is and how it can make a difference. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us, Rachael. I’ll try to start doing warm ups and stretches from now on!
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