When I started lifting weights many years, I went to the gym and started lifting weights. I felt pain here and there while I was doing the first few exercises. And it happened, that I had to go home because of a muscle strain.
What did I never do before training?
Who needed it! I was a serious gym goer and “bodybuilder” for a few month.
Not really. I was just a stupid teenager who knew nothing about proper and healthy working out.
From my bad experiences, I have learned the importance of preparing my body for training.
Why full body warm up is important?
Apparently, the main reason is to prepare your joints, muscles and connective tissue for the strength training. This way, you can avoid strain and injuries. Also, you can start your first exercise in a total ready state.
On the other hand, it also has a positive effect on your nervous system as it gets into a “Just do it” state.
To sum up, warming up helps you to get ready mentally and physically to maximize the outcome of your workout.
How to have a good warming up?
The key here is to have a total body warm up. It is not about making a few shoulder rotations or something that looks like a squat. You have to warm all the muscles of your body no matter if it is going to be exercised or not that day.
You may now think that is going to take a lot of time.
No, if you do the right type of activities that engage more than one muscle group at once. Hence, in 5-10 minutes you are ready to go.
My list of warm up exercises before workout
Below you can find my favorite moves that I always do. I do each of them for 30-45 seconds with a half a minute rest. Hence, the whole session is about 5 minutes. It is not a problem if you cannot execute these moves entirely correctly.
Advice: During the rest, I imagine how good my workout will be. I see myself performing the moves flawlessly and that I can do what I have planned without difficulty (and even more). This helps to be in a “positive” state.
Now let’s see my full body warm up circuit that I have leaned from Al Kavadlo
1. Downdog / Updog switch
This is a sort yoga move, as far as I know, that engages your abs, back, hamstrings and shoulders. To maximize the benefits of this movement, I keep the bottom and the top position for a few seconds.
2. Reach & Touch
I love this exercise because it warms up my lower back and spine perfectly. (I used to have lower back pain). But, it also emphasizes your shoulders, calves, lats, abs, hips, and hams. Inhale when you stretch your arms upward and exhale when you go down.
In most of the cases, I do 30 reps, and I stretch my muscles cautiously as much as I can. If you are not so flexible yet, you can bend your knees a little bit or make a bit longer distance between your feet. I think it is among the best dynamic warm up exercises.
I know plank is for the core, but this static exercise is excellent to pump blood into your shoulders, hams, lower back, and glutes as well.
4. Hollow Body
This is the last one because it is maybe the hardest to perform. Keeping that hollow position is not easy. Pushing your back to the ground is essential.
If you cannot perform the full exercise yet, put your arms next to you, and just lift your feet a few inches off the ground.
That is it! By doing these exercises, you can get your body prepared for the workout. If it was not enough, you might want to jog in place for a minute to boost your heart rate as well.
Tip: Have these moves on your rest days since they help muscle recovery.
To sum up
I hope the next time you do not forget the full body warm up exercises before workout. It takes only a few minutes but makes the training safe and more powerful. These activities are perfect for both weight and bodyweight workouts.