Today I would like to go over injuries due to poor warm-up techniques. These injuries include muscle tears, strains, and tendon damage all due from poor to no warm up at all. First off I’d like to start off by saying think of your tendons and muscles as Laffy Taffy. What happens when you try to pull apart or bend cold Laffy Taffy? It breaks of course. Now what happens when you try to bend or pull apart warm Laffy Taffy? That’s right it stretches nice and easy. Your muscles and tendons kind of work in the same way which is exactly why a proper warm up is so important. Most of you are probably thinking oh I know how to warm up, get to the gym and start stretching all your muscles and then get right to pushing weight!

Wrong! Stretching while your body is cold is one of the worst things you can do. In order to achieve a proper warm up you must do just that warm up. This means heating up your center core by getting your heart rate up, blood circulating and pumping to your muscles faster. You know that hot feeling you get inside your body when you start walking up a flight of stairs or up a hill? Well yeah that’s it. My personal favorite way to warm up is to put my hoodie on, get on the stationary bike and cycle for ten minutes at a rpm rate over 100. The hoodie sweatshirt really helps to hold in my body heat as my core temperature rises. However cycling might not be your thing but there are many different ways to reach the desired core temperature. Some are light jogging, jumping jacks, elliptical machine, body squats, whatever you may choose try and shoot for ten minutes of steady movement. Now that your blood is pumping and your muscle/joints are warm it’s time for what I believe the most important part of my warm up, correcting your weak spots. If you have bad shoulders then spend some time doing some light rotator cuff exercises to prepare them for the heavy chest exercises your about to do. Have tight muscles or knots then pull out the foam roller and do a little myofascial release. Whatever it may be spend a few minutes and work on your weaknesses or posture imbalances.

The next thing I’d like to go over is stretching. Like I mention before stretching while the body is cold can cause damage to muscles and tendons. Now that your body is properly warmed up it’s time to stretch but not your normal static stretching that I see so many of you doing in the gym. Static stretching (holding a position for 30+ seconds) while great and very effective for post workout not recommended for part of your warm up. Static stretching before you exercise lengthens the muscle and can reduce you strength, not exactly what we are trying to achieve right before we start lifting. However dynamic stretching is perfect. Dynamic stretching is to place the muscle into an extended range of motion not exceeding one’s static-passive stretching ability. So for example arm circles, torso twist, knee to chest, and so on.

The last thing I would like to say is I always recommend doing two warm up sets of light weight, high reps, and full range of motion for the first two exercises just to get my muscles into the correct form and motion. After that I do one warm up set before my working sets on all exercises. And always finish your workout with static stretching as this will add length to your muscles to keep you flexible.

My personal warm-up example:

– 10 minutes stationary bike RPM above 100

– 3 circuit sets of swiss ball core stabilizing activation

(Glute bridge with back on ball 30 seconds)

(Push-Up positions hands on the ball 30 seconds)

(Push-Up position feet on the ball 30 seconds)

Rest 2 minutes then repeat 3x

– Dynamic stretching before lifting weights

Other full body warm-up example:

– 2 Minutes jogging in place

– 15 Burpees

– 30 Jumping jacks

– 10 Leg lifts (per leg)

– 20 Sit-Ups

– 20 Push-Ups

– 10 Lunges (per leg)

– 10 Body squats

– 10 Hip extensions

– Dynamic stretching before lifting weights

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write by Gregory