How to Warm Up Before A Workout: Everything You Need to Know

Jordan Robinson
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Benefits of Warming Up Before Exercise

Apart from the psychological benefits of warming up, which I’ll discuss in the second part of this post coming soon, here's what a full warm-up can do for your body:

It helps to raise your core body temperature. Do you know how your car engine works? You know that you have to prime it by revving the car until it reaches a certain temperature before it can develop its full power, right? Well, your body works in a similar way.

It raises the heart rate. This makes more blood and oxygen is sent to your muscles. This makes it possible for your muscles to move faster, get more oxygen, and complete a harder and more effective workout.

It helps to prepare joints for exercise. This is especially important if you are doing an explosive and strenuous workout like running.

Different Types of Warmups

Warming up is the key before starting your workout. It prepares your body for an upcoming workout, and prepares your body to withstand the test of time during the workout itself. It increases your body temperature and aids in preparing the whole body for physical activity.

There are three types of warmups to choose from: Passive, Active, and Dynamic.

Passive Warmup. If you are just starting your workout, a passive warmup is recommended. In this type of warmup, the body is allowed only to relax to absorb the body warmth without moving. This is done lying down or sitting.

Active Warmup. This type of warmup is recommended if you have a lot of time to warmup. In this type of warmup, the body is allowed to move but the muscles are not yet stretched. An example is a jog for 5 minutes.

Dynamic Warmup. Alternatively, you can perform a dynamic warmup. This type of warmup prepares the body to move while stretching and strengthening the muscles used in the exercise. This is done by alternating low-intensity exercise with rest. Thirty to forty five minutes of aerobic activity is enough to prepare the body for a more vigorous workout.

How to Warmup Before A Workout

Whether it’s a workout or a complex sports movement, warming up correctly is critical to perform at your best. False. In fact, your body is only designed to do one thing at a time “ and that’s to handle either a physical or mental activity. If you’re practicing both while you warm-up, you’re not making the most of your exercise routine.

Since warming up can affect your performance, I recommend that you spend at least 15 minutes warming up before you hit the gym with weights. During this time, go through all the primary and secondary muscle groups as a means of getting your body prepared, increasing blood flow and loosening tight muscles.

To make the most out of your time, make sure that you can identify primary muscles and secondary muscles. Primary muscle groups are the main, large muscle groups of the body, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominals and back. What makes the muscles primary are the actions that they control.

Examples include movement of the knee joint with the quadriceps group, movement of the hip joint with the gluteus maximus, and movement of the spine with the erector spinae. These muscles are typically used to move the body in one specific way. For instance, the quadriceps are used to create a flexion of the knee joint.

Warmup Exercise Examples

For every warmup exercise you choose, make sure you ease into the motion and do it slowly, especially if you haven’t done the exercise in a while. If your muscles feel stiff, it can be tempting to throw yourself into a workout and hope for the best. Avoid this temptation and be patient.

Also, if you aren’t familiar with any of the exercises listed below or are still learning how to do them correctly, it’s best to avoid adding them into your own warmup routine until you have perfected the technique first.

For athletes, baseball players, cyclists, throwers and golfers, here are examples of the warmup exercises we mentioned:

  • Bent knee toe taps
  • Straight leg toe taps
  • High knee
  • Knee lifts
  • Heel touch
  • Butt kicks
  • Backward run
  • Forward run

For non-athletes, participants in a fitness/weight loss challenge and people who want to burn fat fast, here are examples of the various warmup exercises we mentioned:

  • Running in place
  • High knees
  • Walkout
  • Torso twists
  • Crunches

Keep in mind the amount of time you should spend on your warmup routine depends on the type of warmup you use and your fitness level.