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Is this holding you back from a great workout?



Why should you warmup? Are you warming up wrong?


Everyone knows they should warm up before intense exercise, but do you know why you should warmup?  Most people would say to prevent injuries like pulling a muscle, and they would be right; but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  It is important to know the full benefits of warming up and what the ideal warmup for your workout is.


As the term warmup implies, the idea of a warmup is to gently increase the heart rate to increase blood flow and body temperature slowly and safely.  The increased blood flow goes to the muscles and ‘warms them up’ as well.  Increased muscle and soft tissue temperature makes them more pliable and malleable, much like warmed up pizza dough stretches and moves better than cold or frozen pizza dough.


The 3 components of a good warmup:

Here are the 3 components that I would recommend for any workout


1 – Soft Tissue Release / Foam Roller – The foam roller is a critical tool in the warmup and cool- down arsenal.  Much like a roller when you roll pizza dough, the foam roller does the same to the muscles and connective tissue you in your body by reducing the thickening of the tissue and making them more elastic and stretchy.  The foam roller can hit the tightness and most restricted muscles of your body gaining you more range of motion for required movements of your workout.  This also makes the muscles more reactive and ready to fire during your workout.


2- Increase heart rate – this can be almost anything.  Simple jogging, squats or jumping jacks are great for increasing the heart rate and blood flow to the entire body.  Our favourite movements are high knees, butt kicks, leg swings, side shuffle and other variations of movement.  These accomplish the task of getting the blood pumping, but also takes you through all the different range of motions needed in all planes of motion.


3- Specific Movement Preparation – This is probably the most important and forgotten part of the warmup for most people.  This allows you to prepare specific body parts and movements before your workout.  For example, if you are doing a lot of pullups or overhead movements within your workout, this part of the warmup will work specifically on shoulders and mid back flexibility to enhance your movement in that area and make those exercises more efficient.  Everyone will have tightness or mobility issues somewhere in their body based on lifestyle and previous injury.  For example, someone with previous ankle injuries will likely need to do some specific ankle movements or a multi-joint movement like a Cossack Squat that requires full range of motion.

 Implement all 3 components into your pre-workout warmup and you will be surprised at how good you feel, and how much better your strength and recovery is.

– Dr. Rob

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