Although training is vital, a proper warmup routine will help to avoid injury and improve performance
Warming up prepares your body for the specific demands of any training session. Whether you’re swimming, biking, or running — skipping a warmup puts a big shock on your body that can lead to injury or poor performance. A proper warmup filled with dynamic stretches is essential for a healthy body and effective training session.
Although enticing to skip, the benefits of taking a few extra minutes to warm up are vast.
The benefits of warming up include:
- Increase blood flow to help lubricate and protect your joints.
- Gradually increase heart and breathing rate, which enhances your oxygen-carrying capacity.
- Awakens the muscles, elevates the core body temperature, and improves range of motion.
- Open communication between muscles and the nervous system for more efficient muscle recruitment.
- Decreased risk of injury, muscle soreness, and joint pain.
Research has shown that dynamic stretching is much more effective than static stretching before a workout. Rather than holding a stretch without movement, dynamic stretches help increase your core temperature and better prepare your body for optimal performance.
Here are six helpful dynamic stretches to do before your next workout or race:
- Arm Swings: Swing your arm upward so your shoulder touches your ear, then down through the full rotation until your hand hits your hip. Repeat 10–15 times each arm.
- Arm Circles: Start with your arms straight out to your sides. Rotate forward 15–20 times and backward 15–20 times.
- Jumping Jacks: Stand with your legs together and your arms at your side. As you jump, spread your legs and swing your arms overhead so that they touch. Then, jump again and return your arms and legs to starting position. Repeat 20 times.
PRE RUN OR BIKE:
- Alternate Toe Touch (Frankenstein Walk): Gently walking forward, kick your leg out in front of you as if attempting to touch your toes. Repeat 10–15 times per leg.
- Butt Kicks: Jog forward while alternating kicking your butt with the heels of your foot. Aim for 20 kicks per leg.
- High Knees: Jogging forward, alternate lifting your knees to where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Repeat 20 reps per leg.
And that’s it — a proper warmup doesn’t have to take all day! Not only will dynamic stretching reduce your risk of injury, but it will also improve your performance, mobility, and range of motion. Give these exercises a try before your next training session and track how you feel before, during, and after.