24 Jul The Perfect Warm-up For A Better Workout
Did you workout today? Better question, did you warm-up before your workout today? Most people do not warm-up enough before their workouts, if they even warm-up at all. Hopefully today I can convince you why your pre-workout routine is so important.
Warming up prevents injuries from happening by prepping the body for more intense movement. Your warm-up routine also helps to mentally prepare you for what is to come.
Warm-ups are especially important on key training days. For example, if one of your fitness goals is to get a bigger butt. Your warm-up on leg day is vital. If you are trying to get a stronger back, whether or not your warm-up could be the difference between a good and a bad workout. Let’s talk about why and how to warm-up, so that you have the most effective workout.
Start with foam rolling
The first thing you should do is roll out your muscles. This is particularly important if you have overactive muscles (which we all do) or joint pain caused by overactive muscles (which is usually the case). Grab a foam roller, tennis ball, or rolling stick and roll through some of your tighter areas. Specifically roll out the areas that may affect your workout. I’ll go back to my previous two examples. If your goal is to get a bigger booty, you should roll out your quads. If your quads are tight during a butt workout – you will only be able to feel your quads during each exercise. If you roll your quads out to release some tension, this is less likely to happen. If you are trying to work your back, roll out and/or massage your chest and bicep muscles beforehand. If you have never used a foam roller before, try this throwback MFit workout or read this article to get some more information. I have put all of my favorite rolling tools in the MFit Amazon store, so check that out if you are looking for some new toys.
After you have finished foam rolling, transition into some active stretches, or mobility work. Nearly all of my MFit Member workouts begin with a very fluid, yoga-dance inspired warm-up. Each movement is connected. Each movement is active. Each movement serves a purpose. Regardless of what body part you are training in your workout, I always recommend including some hip and chest-opening exercises in this section of your warm-up. Each mobility exercise should involve some big movement to allow the joints to move through a big range of motion. In this part of your warm-up you should focus on getting the whole body warm and loose, but still put some extra emphasis on the muscles you intend to train in your workout.
By the end of the mobility section, you should feel quite warm. Now it is time to basically start your workout. But before you pick up any weights, I recommend going through 2-5 activation exercises. Activation exercises are isolated movements that will fire up specific muscles groups. These are small movements that can be done with bodyweight or resistance bands. In my opinion, this is the make or break moment of your workout. If I try to cut my warm-up short and skip the activation exercises, my workout sucks – every single time. If you are trying to get stronger or seriously change your muscles (appearance, size, strength), you need to activate them first! If you struggle to feel the proper muscles during your workout, you need to activate the proper muscles first. Try this video to see how your warm-up should look for maximum results, and how to properly activate your muscles.