Warming up before your workout – you either do it or you don’t.
I’m always bumped between the two but now, I’ve made warming up an essential part of my workout. Whilst there’s not been enough evidence whether or not if it does prevent injury, I still like to think i’m helping my muscles and joints by getting in a good enough warm up.
When I started incorporating warm ups into my workout though, I was stuck on where to begin or what exercises to start with. So below, not only have I provided a brief summary of warming up but i’ve also provided a full body warm up routine for you. I use the exercises provided pretty much everyday.
What really is a warm-up?
It’s a short session (normally 5-10 minutes long) which is conducted at the beginning of a workout. It should consist of light cardiovascular exercises combined with moving stretches.
Is a warm up essential?
You’ll probably hear two different sides to this argument. But in my view point, I believe it’s important to get some kind of warm up done before your workout begins. A warm up is not only meant to enhance your performance but it also helps prevent injury. It basically gets the blood flowing around your joints and tells your body that it’s about to workout.
Once your blood has begun flowing around your body, your temperature starts to rise and as it does so your muscle temperature too. This is important because the more blood released to the muscles (as well as oxygen) means increased performance, faster muscle contraction (making it smoother), increased nerve transmission and muscle metabolism. Altogether this means that the muscles work more efficiently by allowing the muscle to become more relaxed and elastic.
As I stated above, not enough research has been done to prove that warming up does actually prevent injuries. Therefore, it is hypothesised that it will reduce the number of injuries caused by working out.
For example, during a systematic review, relevant studies were identified by searching Medline (1966-April 2005), SPORTDiscus (1966-April 2005) and PubMed (1966-April 2005). This review included randomised controlled trials which investigated the effects of warming up on injury risk. Studies were included only if the subjects were human, and only if they utilised other activities than simply stretching. Studies reported in languages other than English were not included. The quality of included studies was assessed independently by two assessors.
The result was that five studies, all of high quality (7-9 (mean=8) out of 11) reported sufficient data (quality score>7) on the effects of warming up on reducing injury risk in humans. Three of the studies found that performing a warm-up prior to performance significantly reduced the injury risk, and the other two studies found that warming up was not effective in significantly reducing the number of injuries.
Therefore, there is insufficient evidence to endorse or discontinue routine warm-up prior to physical activity to prevent injury among sports participants. However, the weight of evidence is in favour of a decreased risk of injury. Further well-conducted randomised controlled trials are needed to determine the role of warming up prior to exercise in relation to injury prevention. (Fradkin AJ – Warm-up)
Overall, I think whilst it hasn’t been 100% proven I do believe that warming up should be included in your workouts. I’ve found that since I’ve started warming up my joints click significantly less and my mobility and performance throughout my workout has increased. Whether it be a personal choice or not, why not try warming up before all your workouts this week and see if it makes a difference?