Warming up is an essential part of your workout. It increases the temperature in your muscles, resulting in enhanced speed and strength. It increases the range of motion around the joint and it also allows the heart rate to adapt, ready for your main workout. It’s important that you focus your warm up on the muscles you want to train, but you need to keep the exercises light and steady so you don’t pull or injure the muscle. It’s taken me a while to find the best warm up exercises for each different session, but these are sure to leave you feeling completely ready for your main workout.
I tried the treadmill, the cross trainer and even the bike but none of these machines were properly engaging my glute muscles. I’ve found that the best way to ensure your bum is efficiently warmed up is to get the lightest barbell weight, around a 10kg, and do 20 slow, deep squats followed by 5 lunges on each leg. Keep it super relaxed and take your time. Once you’ve finished you’ll find both your glutes and legs feel warm and you’ll be ready for some heavier weights.
For my leg day warm up I spend 6-8 minutes walking on the treadmill at a speed of around 7 and a gradient of 8 or 9. This warms up all the muscles in your legs from your hamstrings to your calves ready for your main workout. If you still feel like you need another warm up exercise, then going on the recumbent (lower) bike for 3 minutes on a low energy setting is also a great way to stimulate your muscles.
It can be difficult to find a good warmup before you train your abs, but going on the rower at a steady pace is an ideal way to start activating your core muscles. Make sure you sit with your back perfectly straight and pull the handle directly towards your stomach. Doing this for 3-4 minutes will ensure your abs are ready for your crunches. A short sprint on the treadmill is also a good way to prepare your muscles.
ARM & CHEST DAY
If you work out with a partner then a good arm warm up is throwing a weighted ball at a fast pace to each other for 2-3 minutes. Again, the rower at a low intensity is also an amazing warm up for all your arm, chest and back muscles. You can also use part of your main arm routine as a warm up, but just half the size of the weight you usually use and drop the reps.
HILT & CARDIO
I used to make the mistake of NEVER warming up before a high intensity or cardio session as I figured that all my muscles would just warm up along the way due to the type of exercises. However, since I have started warming up properly I have been a lot less achy and I’ve been able to utilise my sessions to the full. I start my warm up with a 6 minute alteration between walking and sprinting on the treadmill; 2 minute walk then a 1 minute sprint. I then do 2 minutes on the bike and 2 minutes on the rower. This is my most vigorous warm up but the most rewarding, all my muscles feel warmed up and ready to go.