What if I told you that you could increase blood flow and oxygen to your muscles by over 50%, reduce muscle fatigue during your workout, & reduce the risk of injury by up to 50%.

Most people, especially when they are at the beginning stages of working-out, feel that warming up before a workout will reduce the amount of energy they will have left for their workout; but the opposite is actually the case. Warm-up on a Spin Bike, Concept2 RowerTreadmill, or with weights and you will take your blood flow rate from about 15% to 65% - 75%. Now are you expending energy to warm-up, sure, but the added value and benefits of the warm-up are so much more than without.

The increase in blood flow makes up for energy expended during your warm-up. Blood vessels dilate and increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients (fats & carbs) to your muscles which in turn will improve your performance and sustain your energy level throughout your workout. The warm-up that was perceived to reduce the amount of energy now increased the amount of energy you have and makes that energy available over a longer period of time. It enables you to run longer, lift heavier, jump higher, & explode with more force, than if you did not warm-up.

Apart from using proper form, warming up can greatly reduce the rate of injury by up to 50%.

“Fitness Health 101.” 2 Oct. 2017

“Below is a list of several benefits associated with properly performing a warm-up routine prior to your actual weight training routine: Muscle Temperature Increases: Muscles that are properly warmed up before rigorous activity will be able to contract with more force, and relax at a faster rate after a contraction. With warmer muscles, your body's strength and speed will be increased. In addition, warming up before stretching can assist in helping to prevent overextending a muscle, and thus, causing an injury.

  1. Body Temperature Increases: Properly warming up will cause your body temperature to rise, making your muscles more elastic. Not only will your muscles be better able to perform, but a warmer body temperature can lower the probability of encountering a muscle pull or strain.
  2. Dilated Blood Vessels: Taking the time to warm up forces the blood vessels to dilate. This will reduce the tension that physical activity places on your heart, and increase blood flow throughout your body.
  3. Your Body is Able to Cool Down Faster: Warming up also triggers processes in the body (i.e. sweating, increased breathing rate) that assist in cooling down muscles and joints when they begin to get too hot. By performing a proper warm-up, you can reduce the effect that heat has on your muscles and joints when initially beginning your weight training routine.
  4. Blood Temperature Increases: Similar to your muscles and body, blood operates more efficiently when it is warmed up. As blood temperature rises, blood oxygen levels rise. With a more oxygenated blood stream, muscles receive larger volumes of nutrients and can function at a much greater level.
  5. Range of Motion Increases: By properly warming up, your joints will be more capable of extending safely throughout their full range of motion.
  6. Increases the Secretion of Hormones: When performing a warm-up routine, additional hormones are automatically secreted to provide your body with energy via additional carbohydrates and fatty acids. These additional hormones are crucial for a successful and productive workout.
  7. Increases Mental Focus: When performing a warm-up routine, the mind will enter a state of focus and preparation required for the exercises that you are about to perform. This increase in focus allows the mind to remain positive, relaxed, and with an increased level of concentration. “


So what does it mean to warm up and how do you go about what is right for you?

“Sports Med.”  1985 Jul-Aug;2(4):267-78.  

Shellock FG, Prentice WE.

“Warm-up techniques are primarily used to increase body temperature and are classified in 3 major categories: (a) passive warm-up - increases temperature by some external means; (b) general warm-up - increases temperature by nonspecific body movements; and (c) specific warm-up - increases temperature using similar body parts that will be used in the subsequent, more strenuous activity. The best of these appears to be specific warm-up because this method provides a rehearsal of the activity or event.”

Taking the above instruction, a warmup should be performed at 60% of your normal workout. For example; you are a body builder or Crossfitter and you will be using a rower to warm-up;

If you normally row at a 4 in a full on workout, then that is where you should stay for the warm up. What should change is the amount of force you use behind your row. So if you normally row around 25 – 30 rpm, then for your warm up you should be around 18 – 22 rpm. If a 500 meter row, at full on takes you 2 minutes, then you should warm up where you are completing every 500 meters around 3.2 minutes. The idea here is that it is a warm up, not a full on workout.

Time is another consideration when warming up. 10 – 12 minutes is okay, but you should really be warming up for about 20 minutes. Remember, the better you warm up, the better your workout results will be. Also keep in mind, if you ate poorly in the last 24 hours and did not sleep the night prior, then you do not need to warm-up, you need to take a rest day and recover.

These same principles should be applied to all warm-ups regardless of what you are using to warm up; whether you are riding a bike, jogging, or using weights to warm -up. It is not about what you are using, rather the reason behind it and what it’s doing to for your body; raising your body temperature, dilating your blood vessels, allowing your body to be able to cool down quicker, increase your blood temperature, range of motion, secretion of hormones, and mental focus.

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