Remember PE class in elementary school? Good times, we would stretch then play basketball or some other sport to get our young bodies moving. We are all familiar with the term “warm up”. But do you know how to warmup properly?
Stop using long stretch-holds before workouts.
One thing I remember vividly was the lack of proper warm up in those days. We were taught to stretch by using “static stretching”. Holding these stretches and counting to 45 all-together. Not only was it boring (Common to be yawning during). We didn’t get the blood moving until we did some jumping jacks. Bottom line; leave the static stretching as a cool down. Why? Injury prevention…
How can static stretching cause injury?
Muscles and tendons support our entire body. People can tend to feel loose and a bit unstable after static stretching. If this happens, muscles and tendons will not have the stability needed to supporting the body in motion.
Don’t take away from your own performance.
Imagine your muscles as rubber bands. You want them to have the full power and torque to fire off our muscles during exercise right? If you use static stretching before a workout you will likely over lengthen them. Think of a sling shot, you wouldn’t stretch out the bands for long periods before using it. You want it to have maximum power. Don’t limit your performance by taking away the strength readily available inside our muscles.
So how do I warm up?
Use dynamic stretches. What is the difference? Well with dynamic stretches you are moving more than one joint at a time. You want to use lower lunges, movements holding a pole, Hip rotations or spider crawls. These are great examples of dynamic stretches. Mimicking the movement you are about is a good idea. Leg swings before running or weightless squats before the weighted squats. Get your heart rate and circulation using the following:
- Jumping Jacks
- Butt kicks
- Jog In Place
- Jump Rope
Get your blood moving while warning up the body temperature will also wake up your nervous system. Alertness and mental preparation takes place as well. Think of this warm up routine as a practice swing. Get loose, warm and ready for explosive power.
When should I static stretch?
Use long stretches as a cool down. Break up some of that lactic acid and bring the body temperature down. If you want to work on increasing your range of motion or flexibility, use static stretching. This can be done anytime other than before exertion.
Need More Help?
If none of the warm ups sound familiar doesn’t worry. There is a plan for everyone’s individual needs. Here at The Institute for Functional Health, learn what you need to take off into a lifetime fitness lifestyle. Your body is capable of so much; you just have to maximize its capabilities.