It is a period in which you prepare the body gradually for the physical demands it is about to undergo.
Why should you warm up before exercise?
Because it prepares the body for the demands that training places on the muscles and joints. A warm up can also reduce the possibility of injury, since warmed up muscles are less likely to be injured than cold, stiff muscles. Warming up can also reduce the delayed onset of muscle soreness.
We get two types of warm up routines:
- General warm up
- Specific warm up
Guidelines for a specific warm up:
- 5-10 repetitions
- 1-3 sets
- Progressively increase the Range of Motion on each repetition
- Progressively increase the speed of execution on subsequent sets (where appropriate)
- Contract muscles as you move through the full ROM
- Prevent any bouncing type of movements
- Maintain good technique throughout the warm up
The benefits of a general (or cardiovascular) warm up:
- Increase in core temperature
- Increase in deep muscle temperature
- Increase in perspiration rate
- Increase in respiration rate
- Increase in heart rate
- Increase in blood flow
- Decrease viscosity of synovial fluid (found in the joints)
The benefits of a specific (or dynamic) warm up:
- Time efficient
- A number of joints are integrated in each stretch
- Multi-plane movements (functional in nature)
- Muscles are active during the stretch
Benefits of a thorough warm up routine:
- Improved metabolic reactions
- Improvement of muscular power and strength
- Improved speed of agonist muscle contraction and antagonist muscle relaxation
- Improved blood flow and oxygen delivery to active muscles
- Decreased risk of injury
- Decreased possibility of muscle soreness
- Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
- Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily.
- Prepares your muscles for stretching
- Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
- Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
- It improves coordination and reaction time
- Health and Fitness Professionals Academy. Practical Manual (Higher certificate in Exercise Science). Page 10-11.