Without a proper warm-up and cool down as part of your workouts, you cannot hope to perform at maximum capacity. Warm-up before exercise is necessary for two reasons; one, without proper warm-up exercises, you run the risk of injuring yourself; two, your goal is to perform each exercise with precision and at peak performance; you can't do this without performing warm-up exercises.
For strength training workouts, your first warm-up should take place even before you hit the weight room. To get the most out of your workout, you should lift heavy. A good warm-up prepares the body for the high intensity lifting ahead. At the beginning of your workout, jump on a cardiovascular machine of your choice--the treadmill or elliptical are both good options; you may also hit the road for a jog -- and perform five minutes of low intensity exercise. This will get the blood flowing and prime the muscles for heavy lifting. Don't mistake your warm-up for a full cardiovascular workout. If you overdo it, you can impede your ability to perform when you hit the weights.
You must also perform warm-up sets before each resistance training exercise. For each exercise, you will select a working weight, the weight you will be using to burn muscle tissue during lifting. Before racking up your working weight, perform a warm-up set with half the weight you expect to lift. Put 50% of your working weight on the bar and perform two or three reps with a slow deliberate cadence. After finishing your warm up set, take a break and evaluate how you feel. If you feel ready to lift the full working weight, go for it. If not, rack up 60% of your working weight and perform an additional two or three reps of exercises. After one or two warm-up sets, you should be ready to move on to your full working set.
It is essential, especially while lifting heavy weights, to perform warm-up exercises to prepare the muscles for maximum exertion. Warm-ups pump blood into the muscles, readying them to perform at peak levels. With proper warm-ups, you will lessen the risk of injury, perform better in the gym, and recover more efficiently from your workouts.
- Craig, Nybo
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