A proper warm up and cool down are both essential parts of a workout but a lot of us question how to warm up and cool down for exercise. In this post, I will share what I do before my workout and after. As you know… I am a 30 minute workout kind of girl, so my warm up and cool down follow the same efficient fashion.
HOW TO WARM UP FOR YOUR WORKOUT
GOAL OF A WARM UP: to get our blood flowing, heart rate up, body moving and prime our muscles for movement.
WHAT NOT TO DO: Let me start off this section by telling you what I do not suggest doing to warm up… static stretching. Static stretches involve holding a motionless stretch for some period of time. The reason I want to share this is because that is what a lot of people do to warm up. Think of your muscles as a rubber band. If you take a rubber band and stretch it as far out as possible, it will likely snap. On the contrary, if you warm up the rubber band with some shorter tubs, it will hold up better when stretched out further.
WHAT TO DO: for a warm up, I want you to think DYNAMIC MOVEMENTS!
DYNAMIC STRETCHES/MOVEMENTS = movements in which we move the body gradually and can increase the range of motion with every repetition
As the name implies, “dynamic” stretches or movements are those in which we move as westretch. The goal of dynamic stretching is to prepare the joints for movement and the muscles for optimal engagement.
Dynamic stretching is particularly beneficial before a workout. An Elon University study published in a
2007 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning showed that dynamic stretching prior to a workout enhances muscular performance and power. These types of stretches activate muscles used during the
workout, improve our range of motion, create body awareness and challenge balance and coordination.
EXAMPLES OF DYNAMIC WARM UPS:
- 5 minute walk or jog
- Dynamic stretches (stretches with movement)
- Movement warm ups (ex: if it’s leg day, warm up with 2 sets of 25 reps of body weight squats; if it’s an arm workout, pick an exercise from the workout and start with bodyweight or light weight)
WHAT TO DO POST-WORKOUT TO COOL DOWN
GOAL OF A COOL DOWN: a cool down should focus on transitioning you from your intense workout back into your day. We will focus on lowering our heart rate and increasing our flexibility and mobility.
EXAMPLES OF A WORKOUT COOL DOWN:
- restorative yoga/yoga poses
- foam rolling
- static stretching