When you first get to the gym, you’re probably ready to get started right away. Far too many people skip warmups before exercising for one reason or another. Maybe they’re running behind and need to get a quick workout in before it’s too late. Or they find warming up boring and pointless. However, skipping your warmups can hurt you in the long run.
Even though you might be in a rush or find it boring, you should still incorporate some warmups before exercising. There are plenty of benefits to warming up before a workout, from increased performance to a reduced risk of injury. While it may seem like an inconvenience, warming up before getting physical has plenty of impacts on your workout.
If you are a fitness beginner who is creating a routine, you should always incorporate warmups into your plan. You will quickly learn just how beneficial they are to your workout. While it might seem inconsequential, warmups before exercising can have major effects on your progress. Fitness Nation recognizes how big of an impact this can have on your fitness journey. In most cases, it can help you reach your goals faster and safer than you could without them.
Benefits of Warming Up
We understand that warming up is not the most exciting part of exercising. However, it is one of the most vital parts. There are plenty of things that can go wrong if you don’t do daily warmups before exercising.
Some of the best benefits of warming up include:
- Reduces the Risk of Injury: Arguably, the most significant benefit of warming up is the reduced risk of injury. Over 30% of sports injuries are skeletal muscles. Nothing keeps you away from reaching your goals quite like an injury. However, these injuries can be avoided by stretching and warming up before a workout. It will improve muscle elasticity and allow for efficient cooling.
- Increases Body Temperature: As the term suggests, these pre-workout exercises warm up your body, particularly the temperature in your muscles. As this temperature increases, blood travels to your muscles better, allowing them to contract and relax easier. It also gives your heart a chance to prepare for strenuous activity.
- Improves Flexibility: Stretching is an excellent warmup. It improves blood flow to your muscles. Not only does it improve your flexibility for the short-term, but consistently stretching improves it in the long run. Improved flexibility (both short- and long-term) can drastically reduce your risk of injury.
- Boosts Performance: When you warm up, you get your mind mentally prepared for the task at hand. It’s much easier to give up or put in little effort if your mind isn’t ready. Combine this mental preparation with the physical benefits of warming up, and you’ll likely see a boost in your performance. Studies have even proven that warming up can improve your overall performance.
Examples of Warmup Exercises
Fortunately, there is a wealth of warmups out there that are easy to do and still provide you with many benefits. Dynamic stretching is an excellent way to warm up your body and improve elasticity. However, there are plenty of warmups you can do to get yourself ready for your daily exercises, some of which include:
1.) Body Squats
Squats are one of the best workouts you can do. While they mainly focus on your glutes and hamstrings, they are multi-joint exercises that activate various muscle groups at once. Regardless of what muscle groups you’re targeting, you can always warm up with body squats.
To do these squats:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes facing slightly outward.
- Slowly lower your hips, bending your knees and hips at the same time.
- Drop until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your core engaged and back straight.
- Pause for a moment with your knees bent. Your knees (or chest) should not extend past the tip of your toes.
- Stand back up, exhaling.
- Repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps.
2.) Hip Stretch with Twist
The goal of dynamic stretching is to engage multiple muscle groups at once. These stretches will improve blood and oxygen circulation across your entire body. That is the goal with the hip stretch with a twist.
To do this stretch:
- Step into a lunge position with your left leg forward and right leg behind you. Place your right hand on the ground to the inside of your leg.
- Next, twist your body to the left, reaching your left arm straight up.
- Hold for a couple of seconds, then release.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Do for 4-6 reps per side.
3.) Side Lunges
If you’re about to do a leg exercise or some cardio, side lunges can help warm up your legs. This exercise engages your lower body, strengthening your legs, glutes, and hips. If you can’t go all the way down, stop halfway and hold until you can complete a full lunge.
To do this stretch:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointed forward or slightly out.
- Step out to your left with your left foot.
- Next, slowly squat down on your left side, lowering your hip while bending your knee. Keep your right leg straight and extended.
- Pause with your left knee over (but not past) the tip of your toes.
- Lift your hip back up and return your left foot to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Complete 1-3 for 8-15 reps.
4.) Arm Circles
Many workouts involve your arms. Whether you are lifting or pushing, you need your arms. Arm circles are an excellent warmup to loosen up the muscles and tissues in your shoulders and arms while also getting your joints moving.
To do arm circles:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your arms to your side.
- Then slowly swing your arms forward in a circular motion. The more you swing your arms, the looser your shoulders will feel.
- Continue doing so for 15-20 seconds.
- Then repeat in the opposite direction.
5.) Stationary Bike
While a stationary bike counts as cardio, many athletes use these bikes to warm up before their workout. You can always end your warmup with a 5–10-minute session on a stationary bike. Not only will it stimulate blood flow to muscles throughout your body, but it will also improve your flexibility and increase your body temperature. Even a short session on a bike will be enough to warm up cold and tight muscles to get you ready for your workout.
Join Fitness Nation
One of the biggest mistakes many fitness beginners make when starting their fitness journeys is not warming up before a workout. While it might seem boring and pointless, there are plenty of reasons to warm up before exercising. Not only does it reduce your risk of injury, but it also improves your flexibility and increases blood and oxygen circulation. Overall, these warmups enhance your overall performance.
If you are ready to start your own fitness journey but don’t have a gym to call home yet, join Fitness Nation today. We have all the weights and equipment you need to reach your fitness goals.