A warm-up can be described as a session involving light exercises, usually before an intense physical exercise. In order words, it is the act of exercising or stretching in preparation for strenuous activity.
Warm-ups are important for a number of reasons. First, they help the body supply more oxygen to the muscle groups involved during the exercise. The muscles and joints are prepared for intense physical activity. Second, they help in reducing the chance of sustaining muscle and tendon injuries through an increase in body temperature.
Third, warm-ups will also help prepare the cardiovascular system for physical activities. It allows the heart and blood vessels to adjust to the increase in blood supply and oxygen intake. During a warm-up, the heart rate gradually elevates, and circulation also increases. The rate of energy production will increase during this period.
There are two major types of warming-up activities: Static warm-ups and Dynamic warm-ups.
A dynamic warm-up is done to increase the body temperature and to get more circulation to the muscles. Dynamic stretches will help increase your flexibility and range of motion while maintaining your strength and power. It involves controlled movements that help to get the muscles and joints loose. Whole-body exercises are mostly involved in dynamic warm-up. Exercises like jump rope, jumping jacks, high knees, etc. are all part of dynamic warm-up exercises. After a dynamic workout, the blood pressure would have increased, and the muscles adequately prepared.
Static warm-ups, however, are activities that involve elongating the muscles, and pushing them as far as possible. It involves stretching and holding the stretch for some time while staying fixed in a position. The best time to stretch is after a brief warm-up. Static warm-ups will help your muscles adjust to a different range of motion. The major goal of these activities is an increase in length.
To choose the right type of warm-ups, you need to consider the intensity of the activity that would follow after that warm-up. You also need to consider the type of the activity, so that you'd pay more attention to the major muscle groups involved. The more intense the activity is, the more time you'd need to warm-up. For example, soccer players jog and stretch for a number of minutes in preparation for a game. Regardless of the activity, it is important to do full body warm-ups. Also, for activities like running, cycling, or long-distance walking, you can start them at a slower pace while stretching beforehand to warm-up.
We'll list the best warm-up activities suitable for a range of activities below:
1. Pull-ups: Pull-ups can be a warm-up or even a workout in itself. However, it helps to increase blood flow to the upper body, especially the biceps and triceps. This is suitable for any activity that involves more of the upper body. If you find pull-ups difficult, you can work with a pull up assist band to make it easier.
2. Skipping: It involves jumping over a rope for some minutes. It is one of the most common cardio exercises as it quickly increases the body temperature and heart rate. It is a warm-up suitable for a range of exercises and physical activities.
3. Glute bridge: This involves laying on your back on a mat. Then slowly raise your knees with your hips up. This is suitable for activities that can put a strain on your back. You can increase the difficulty gradually as you get comfortable with the warm-up.
4. Thrusts/Squats: Squats and thrusts help to warm-up your muscles quickly, especially those of your lower body. During these, the core muscles of your abdomen and chest are also exercised.
5. Inner thigh stretch: This type of warm-up helps to stretch your inner thigh muscles, abdominal, and groin muscles. It involves sitting on a mat with your legs stretched out as far as possible. Then, push your upper body forward with your hands. Try to bend as far as possible, this will put pressure on your abdominal muscles while stretching other muscles.
6. Jogging: This can be done outdoors or on a treadmill. Jogging elevates the heart rate, increases circulation, and puts many muscles to work!