Before any type of exercise, you should always complete a warmup of some sort. There are many benefits to doing a warmup, but the most important reason is to help prevent injury. There are many different types of warmups, but the one you choose should be based on what type of workout you are doing!
First, we will look at a few reasons why we want to do a warmup. Besides lowering the risk of injury, a warmup will also help dilate blood vessels, which leads to your muscles being full of oxygen. Having oxygen to your muscles makes it easier for them to contract, therefore you will have a better workout and you will be able to go longer. Your heart rate will also rise which warms it up and will be able to take the stress of the workout a lot better. Due to the increase in muscle temperature, your flexibility will be a lot better as well.
The first type of warmup we will look at is the general warmup. A general warmup consists of walking, jogging, or using any one of the cardio machines for around 5-10 minutes to get the heart and muscles loosened up. When you walk from your vehicle to the gym, your muscles haven’t been used much and they will be cold. If you try to exercise without a warmup, your risk of tearing the muscle or any other type of injury could occur.
A specific warmup involves performing the exercise you will start with, but with fewer reps and lower weight. For instance, if you will be performing a chest workout and will be starting with bench press, then a specific warmup means you should warm up with the same exercise, just at a lot lower weight than you would normally do. Beginners should use a combination of these two warmups (general and specific) to minimize the risk of injury and to fill the muscles up with as much oxygen as possible before the workout takes place.
A sport-specific warmup is for more advanced clients or ones that are training for a specific event. One example is an athletic event. Before an athletic contest, athletes should perform specific exercises that will help them get ready for that certain type of event. This may include high intensity, short burst exercises, or different types of dynamic movements.
A dynamic warmup includes different types of movement stretches to get the body loose. A few examples include arm swings, leg kicks, and good mornings. These exercises are all bodyweight and should be performed for at least 12 reps. Dynamic stretches are different from static stretches in that a dynamic stretch involves movements with joins whereas static stretches involve elongating specific muscles for a period of time.
Warmups are very important when it comes to exercise. For the muscles to be fully activated, they must fill up with oxygen first. Always speak with your trainer about the best type of warmup for you. If you are still unsure of what to do, I would walk on the treadmill or ride the stationary bike for around 5-10 minutes!