We all know we need to warm up before exercise, but why? Working out and getting fit is supposed to make you feel better, help you get stronger and reach your fitness goals.
But stress in the workplace and sedentary lifestyles have left most people with bad posture and restricted movements.
This, along with typical flaws in workout design can quickly lead to overuse injuries and limitations in how you move.
One way to overcome these problems? A good warmup.
A comprehensive preparation routine will allow you to lift more, recover faster and have better overall movement in and out of the gym.
It will also help you to restore balance in the strength of your muscles, which will improve their function and your posture at the same time.
The warmup charges up your body prior to the workout, increases your core temperature and makes sure you’re ready to go as soon as you grab that first weight.
It also helps to mentally prepare you and serve as a transition from the office to the gym.
A good warm-up is done in three stages. The first stage sets the tone and starts with some form of self-massage, typically referred to as self-myofascial release on a roller or SMR.
This stage improves the quality of your muscles and soft tissue, which helps them extend and contract better. It also frees up some of the restrictions from long-duration slouched postures associated with a busy lifestyle (think about your work office or long commutes).
The next stage includes exercises that improve your overall movement and mobility. Full body movements, done through a full range of motion, should allow your body to work as it is intended.
Some examples might include a full range bodyweight squat or a pull-up done from an extended arm position until your chin is over the bar.
Finally, as you transition from the warmup to the workout, you should focus on activating the muscles that have been shut down due to poor posture, and start charging up your body for the upcoming demands of the workout.
Most times, this means targeting the muscles of your upper back and those that stabilise and engage movements in your hips. This will help improve the function of your shoulders and immediately work to help you achieve better full body neutral posture.