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Friday, January 11, 2013


Now that the holidays are over and everyone is looking to improving get back into shape or already has started on this path, and the winter is finally here with below freezing days, before there are posts about training let’s warm-up to it. Hardcore Peeves always begins with a general question, but this week the question is directed to everyone! Do you warm-up before you exercise? Do you do the correct warm-up for training with weights?

Yes, you do see people warm up in the gym, but most are doing general warm-ups that aren’t even directed to resistance training that they are about to do. First of all the “Warm-up” in exercise and sports is divided in to General Warm-up and Specific warm-up. The General warm-up has the purpose of increasing Heart Rate (HR), blood flow and deep muscle temperature, respiration rate and perspiration, and the Specific Warm-up prepares the parts of the body that specifically are going to be used for the movement, exercise or sport.
(Dennis Wolf The Beginning - 2008)

So let’s say a General warm-up in the gym would be 12 – 15 minutes of any cardio equipment, and a specific warm-up would be doing an exercise with a light weight, such as the barbell bench press, for example in a slow controlled movement, doing 20 to 30 reps with the bar or low intensity weight.

Did you know that your body is really ready for physical activity after about 12 minutes of Warm-up? According to the Journal of Sports Medicine (Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury, by Woods, Bishop and Jones, 2007) to prevent injuries a warm-up should consist of low intensity active warm-up which is usually done on cardio equipment in the gym.

According to Tudor Bompa and G. Gregory Haff from the 5th Edition of the book Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training the benefits of Warm-up include increased muscle and core temperature, which increase nerve conduction rate and speed metabolic reaction, such as hormonal changes to regulate energy production with more availability of carbohydrates and fatty acids. These then can increase the speed and force of muscle contractions. While the temperature rises there is an increase to the amount of oxygen delivered to the working muscle due to the increase of vasodilation and blood, which increases the possibility of range of motion around the joints. It also helps for the mental preparation by clearing the mind. This all can help reducing the risk of injury.

In the gym you usually find that those who do a warm-up before their workout are on a cardio machine for about 5 minutes, then, they go straight to the program, without even the specific warm-up. But as stated before, they really aren’t physically prepared for exercise yet. And what about the ones that do a specific warm-up before they start their program, beginning with the first exercise on their list, but they are doing uncontrolled movements, jerking their joints, stressing the muscles before the workout, which could cause injury. Then the worst cases are those that don’t even think about the program they are doing and specifically warm-up the wrong region of the body that is going to be worked out, such as those that do the warm-up for their arms with or without weights, and end up working out their legs or vice-versa.

Besides stressing your body more with inappropriate movements, and possibility of causing injury, people look ridiculous doing a warm-up for a run, when they are going to do resistance exercises. So before you hit the weights, warm-up to the work out and get your results. With a proper warm-up, especially now when it’s cold, you are looking ahead to protect yourself from having to stop training because of undesired reactions to the growing intensity of future workout routines.

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