Did you know, along with anything having to do with weight training, the warm-up is highly debated. Although everyone has individual needs and responds in different ways there are universal training principles that correspond to physiological truths that are necessary for safe, rapid gains. Warming up before training intensely is one of those principles.
There are many ways in which one can effectively warm-up, and each person needs to find out what works best for them. Keep in mind a warm-up should never hinder your workout. If you’re breathing hard and or sweating profusely, you’re going too hard, e.g., Running is not an effective warm-up for weight training.
Use a warm-up to:
Increase muscle temperature. A warmed muscle contracts more forcefully and relaxes more quickly.
Improve range of motion
Dilate blood vessels. This increases the amount of nutrients and oxygen available to targeted muscles.
Mental preparation. The calm before the storm. This is a good time to prepare for the intense workout ahead. Using positive imagery while performing warm-up sets will increase your mental focus, and improve the outcome of work sets.
The type of warm-up I recommend for weight training is dynamic in nature. Use the exercises in your program to warm-up the target muscles, e.g., if the dumbbell press is your first exercise for chest, you’ll start with a fairly light weight in that exercise, and gradually build up to your work set.
The only time I use a general warm-up is during the winter. I will walk on the treadmill, or ride a recumbent bike for 5 – 10 minutes. As you get older, muscles tend to need a little more coaxing to get loose and primed for an intense workout during cold weather.
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