Recently, I wrote a small article on how to build my own training program. This time I will deal in more detail with one of the parts of training, most often overlooked in my belief, namely warm-up.
There is nothing to cheat – many do not do it, and if they are doing something called a warm-up, there is nothing to do with a properly carried out warm-up. How many times do you come to the gym see the delinquents who, going into the exercise room will make 3 jumps, a few bends, wave arms and are ready for training. They lie on the bench, take on the first series 85% of their maximum weight and hope that nothing will happen.
You can do it anyway, but is it worth risking injury? The question arises, is it possible to avoid all the injuries we are exposed to? Someone may say that warm-up is not an indispensable element of training. Do special services like the police or any rapid reaction units have time to warm up? They must be ready to action in the blink of an eye. Imagine a situation in which someone is attacking us on the street, and we “go to it, give me a moment, I have to warm up and start push-ups, crunches, jumps and after 5 minutes we say” OK, I’m ready. Does the predator warm up before attacking the victim? And what is more absurd – will the predator wait for his victim to warm up to escape? It was with such claims that I met in relation to strength training and warm-up associated with it.
It seems to me that such a complaint is completely unfounded. The situations described above have been deliberately discolored, exaggerated, because both the police and other branches are specific organs trained for quick reaction and prepared for an immediate attack in a crisis situation.
Returning to the question, can you prevent injuries? The answer is clearly NO, but we should do our best to prevent them. And this is what we need to warm up before training, which is a relatively simple and effective measure to minimize the risk of injury during strength training.
This is the title of the introduction, it is time to go to the merits.
What really gives us a warm-up?
Let’s start with the physiological aspects of it, and more specifically, what benefits it brings
As you can see, the warm-up has the same benefits. It causes a series of reactions in the body, preparing it for the requirements and training overloads. Collecting this in several sentences, the warm-up stimulates the circulatory system, accelerates blood circulation, increases the volume of blood vessels, causing the blood to carry more oxygen and nutrients to the cells of our body, which translates into satisfying the energy needs of cells during training. In addition, it prepares the respiratory system, increases the volume of the lungs. Finally, he prepares the muscular system for hard work – the muscles warmed up and pre-prepared are less susceptible to damage (tears, ruptures), as well as tendons and joints.
If you think that the warm-up is to prepare only our body for training, then you are wrong. Warm-up is not only a preparation in the physiological sense, raising the body temperature, increasing the range of movements, etc. Unfortunately, it is associated with a real task and its real task is much wider.
And what about our mind? With the psychological aspect of the warm-up? Just as our body needs it, so does our mind need it. After all, when we come to the exercise room, we have the full head of thoughts that are unnecessary at the moment, related to everyday life and problems, whether professional or personal. Unnecessary thoughts keep us busy. Good physical well-being but also psychological comfort do not constitute a good training. Therefore, during the warm-up, avoid conversations, we do not watch female friends fluttering on the stepper, we only deal with each other. We forget about the problems of everyday life, focus on the work of the muscles, in the **** we breathe in and try to focus on warming up. This will reduce stress, calm the nerves after a day and mentally prepare us for training. Additionally, during the warm-up, we can imagine what our training will look like, step by step, what exercises, pace, load progressions, even imagine how we raise our max in a given battle. This will set us up for a fight during training.
What do you get after this warm-up? The body is prepared in terms of physiology, warmed muscles, joints and tendons prepared for overload, nervous, respiratory, and blood vessels ready. The mind is clean, devoid of negative thoughts, reduced stress, visualization of training behind you and you are waiting for the start of training in 100% ready.
So let’s get to the practical part of the warm-up, or how to do it.
In my opinion, the warm-up should look as follows
1) Aerobic exercise
Here a very wide range of possibilities – from ordinary jogging, walking, running, to stationary bikes, elliptical machines, treadmills, jumping rope, paddles. For choice, for color. The best, however, is running, that is, the movement of the whole body, which involves the involvement of a large number of muscles. A general aerobic warm-up includes movements that are not necessarily related to a specific exercise that will be followed as a result. Its task is to move as many muscle groups as possible in space. At this stage of the warm-up we have to prepare the body physiologically for training loads, raise the body temperature, speed up the breath, etc. I personally praise the elliptical machines, which allow to warm up both the upper and lower part of the body, at the same time do not overload the knees, as in the case of classic running, which is important especially in people who are overweight or have problems with joints.
How long should the aerobic part last? The answer is not unambiguous. It should be long enough to raise body temperature (muscles, joints, tendons) so that the blood circulates freely through all parts of the body. The appearance of sweat indicates that the body temperature has increased so much that the body has started the processes of lowering its temperature. The appearance of sweat gives a sign that the body temperature is elevated, but you have to distinguish the body’s stimulation from applying a mild dose of effort. Here, we rely on our own feelings. Duration should also vary depending on which time of day we start training. Often in the afternoon the body is already energized after a full day of activity and the aerobic warm-up may be shorter.
2) Preparation for joint overloading
As a man reaches back to the memory of physical education lessons, he remembers how the teacher always said: “You need to warm up the joints, circulation of arms, knees, hips, elbows. However, as more and more studies show, although human is anatomically adapted to rotational motion in joints, it is not entirely desirable. Circulations cause hypermobility in the joints by excessive stretching of the ligaments. Such a situation can take place in all ponds, including knee, ankle, elbow, wrists. Thanks to which the pond loses its stabilization, and thus does not work as it should (thanks to Mawashi).
Of course, someone can say stupidity, “I’ve been warming up like this for years and I’m fine. The situation is similar to the exercises commonly regarded as injuries. For 5, 10, 20 years, nothing will happen to you, but whether during these exercises your joints do not degenerate, no one knows. However, research suggests that the joint is damaged.
The only solution is to prepare the joint in the most neutral range of motion. For shoulders, it is a shrug, lifting sideways, squeezing without weight. For the elbows, wrists, knees, straightening and flexing (knees also without knees for knees), for ankle joints to go to the toes with a heel. Of course, all joints are preheated after aerobic exercise.
3) Actual warming up of the muscle being trained
I mean the warm-up series before the actual muscle group training. In other words, when training the chest in addition to general warming, we do a warm-up series with a weight of 50% 1RM, usually in a larger number of repetitions. From my own experience I know that nothing better warms up before training a given party like doing a few warm-up series. Ideally, if you plan a good weight increase during training and so, for example
Doing squats with a barbell
1) we perform a general aerobic warm-up,
2) warm up the ankle, knees, lower back
3) we do the training (warm-up series + the right series.
If our working weight is 100kg
1 x 10 x 50kg (large stock)
2seria 10 x 60kg (large stock)
3seria 10 x 70kg (here we start to feel the weight)
4 x 10 x 80kg (hard)
5seria 10 x 90kg (difficulty)
6 series 10 x 100kg (our working weight)
The use of such a weight progression gives us a total of 6 series, of which 3-4 are the other ones are a series of warm-up with a large reserve of strength, preparing for heavy series proper.
Of course, the series may be more, their number is not particularly specified. Good warm-up during heavy poly-strain exercises is the key to safety.
I would like to move one more thing about which I often write, namely, to stretch my muscles before training? Stretching is perhaps a strong word, gentle stretching is a good wording. After the aerobic warm-up and warming up the joints, you can apply a gentle static streching. No strong or violent moves. Choose one stretching exercise for a given batch and gently stretch for a few seconds to feel the resistance and relax. It will allow to increase the range of mobility in the joints, but it is not an indispensable element.
Of course stretching after training is a necessary element, has a lot of positive sides (accelerates regeneration, strengthens the joints and tendons, relaxes muscles, etc.), and is also an ideal way to calm the body after training.
This is my general reflection on the warm up. I hope that I have clarified the issues related to this subject and dispelled some doubts.
Only read and apply in your training to prevent injuries.
You can read also: Stretching