So you’ve managed to get out of bed and drag yourself down to the gym. Good for you! Feeling amped up and excited for your first gym workout is great. But don’t get started with lifting weights just yet! You should know that a good gym workout starts with a proper warm-up session.
Why warm-ups are necessary?
Think of your body like how a car operates. Warming the engine up before you hit the road is necessary for a car’s machine to function well. It is crucial to its overall performance.
Warm-ups are vital even for regular gym-goers before starting any workout, and more so for beginners. It gets you to listen to your body first to make sure it won’t hate you after.
Warm-up exercises give your body the right benefits for a workout. It improves blood circulation and muscle and bone flexibility, while also activating the central nervous system. A fully-alert mind and body during workout prevent future injury from happening, especially if you’re still starting on your fitness journey.
Your heart rate is also the most important part during an intense workout, and warm-ups make it easier for your heart to keep attuned to your body. Heart rates increase the more you increase your body’s activity. Taking it lightly with a warm-up first gets your heart ready for the full-blasted workout.
How long is a good warm-up?
Experts would say, if you don’t have enough time for a proper warm-up, then you don’t have enough time for a proper workout.
You’re going to need a good 5 to 10 minutes of warm-up depending on your body’s condition, or the type of workout you’re planning to do. If you aim for an intense workout, then make sure to match it with a longer warm-up sesh.
Ready to get into your warm-up? Now turn your best workout playlist on and let’s get moving!
For beginners, start with the good ol’ stretch
You probably think stretching are for grannies, you’re absolutely half right. It is definitely necessary for grannies and every person whose bodies are not used to strenuous activities. If you mostly spend your time sitting on your desk, then face it– you’re body needs to be stretched before doing any vigorous activity.
When stretching, always start from the top and work your way down. Some yoga poses are perfect examples of the best beginner stretching exercises. Here are the most commonly used ways to do the classic stretches:
Neck tilts and head rotations
Tilt your head about 90 degrees from side to side, slowly. Put pressure by pressing your fingers to your head on both sides. Feel the muscles at the back of your neck tighten. After this, rotate your head clockwise, and counterclockwise using the same counts. Focus on your breathing as well.
Work your shoulder, back and arms
Rotate both shoulders clockwise and counterclockwise, or alternately if you need to. Loosen up back muscles along as you do your shoulders. With everyday desk work, your back needs this stretch from time-to-time.
Extend your arms sidewards and rotate them clockwise and counterclockwise with proper counts.
Ease up your torso, hips and glutes
To ease up lower back and torso, start rotating it 90 degrees from left to right. Proper counting helps on this. Remember to put pressure as much as you can to each side.
Move your hips in a circular motion clockwise and counterclockwise to move your hip joints. Pull your knee up alternately and let your arms press your knees towards your body. This stretches your hips and activates the glutes.
Move your toes
If you’re training to run for a marathon, you know injuries are critical from your hips down. Stretching your leg muscles, your feet joints down to your toes will do wonders. A few rotations and tilts can do the trick.
Boost it up with a little cardio
Cardiovascular exercise gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing to kickstart your workout. Some would simply hit the treadmill and get it done. But if you don’t have the machine for these exercises, you can do so by using just your body weight. Effects are the same, and sometimes, even better.
These exercises are proven to be effective for starters:
- Jumping Jacks
- High-knee jumps
- Toe touches
- Leg Swings
- Punches and kicks
Remember to listen to your body while performing these exercises. Each body is different from the other that these exercises may be light to some, or too much for others. The key is to start slowly and finish strong.
For regulars, a dynamic workout is a way to go
If you’re training regularly, do not underestimate the power of a warm-up. Even the most professional trainers and athletes can get the worst injuries if they did not warm up properly to condition their body.
For you who’s been in and out of the gym, take note of these exercises for your warm-up sessions:
- Jump ropes
- Bodyweight and Jump Squats
- Mountain Climbers
So you think you can handle a heavy workout better now? With a proper warm-up, of course, you can! A good warm-up always leads to the best workout. Doing your warm-ups right will push your body to do its best as you go through the different stages of your workouts. Enough reasons to never skip a warm-up again!
If you still want more then check out this helpful guide from Rec Xpress on the best warm activities you can complete before hitting the gym.