7 Ways to help get more out of your warm up exercises
Move well, Move often:
Warm up exercises are the perfect way of getting your body ready for exercise or even just preparing it for the day ahead. Your joints have to be able to move through their full range of motion and the muscles have to be able to control the joint through that same range in order to move well. If your brain thinks you are going to injure yourself it will tighten up your muscles. This is probably the real reason you always feel tight (even after stretching the day before)
PSST . . . Heres a FREEBIE I made for you
Mobility: Stability vs Flexibility:
Mobility or range of motion (ROM) is an umbrella term for how well you move. Your body is made up of bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments. Mobility refers to how well the joint moves. Flexibility refers to how well your muscles are able to lengthen (and contract).
Without flexibility the muscle will not want to lengthen, and your brain will put the brakes on them. This will lead to an overall reduction in your range of motion. For your muscles to work to their full potential (lengthen and contract), you must be able to control them. The ability to stabilise or control your muscles through a range of motion will take the breaks off of them. It will allow them to flex (contract), and Extend (lengthen), to their hearts content. Warm up exercises are a safe way to get your muscles to contract and lengthen without risk of injury.
Stretching is only half the work:
Stretching is good but only relaxes the muscles, it doesn’t teach them how to work properly. That is why if you want to make long term gains with your mobility you need to be doing a combination of stretches, and warm up exercises. It can sound like a lot of work and that is why there are geeks like me to share with you small simple steps to help you get the most out of your body.
7 small simple steps (with examples) to help you get more from your warm up exercises.
Below you will find the 7 simple steps you can take to improve the way you move. I have even added little examples for you to make it a bit more relevant as I’m a practical person.
- Your goal: I want to be more mobile (or wake up in the morning feel less stiff)
- Set your new habit: I want to work on my mobility for 10 mins a day.
- Link your new habit to an old habit: when I get home from work and am watching my favorite tv show I will get off the couch and do my 10 min mobility routine.
- Set up your environment for success: place your foam roller, yoga mat, or any equipment you will need next to the couch, so it is tidy, but also a reminder of your new habit.
- After you have completed your warm-up exercises: pause for a second (or 5) to stop and think how good you feel (and you will because when your body moves it releases feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin).
- Reward yourself for your new-found habit
- Be consistent: you don’t have to do it every day. But make sure you never miss 2 days in a row.
My favourite warm-up exercises (takes less than 10 mins):
Here is my favourite little routine for tight hips and a tight lower back. It gets you moving in all the right areas and all you need is a foam roller (and a band/belt if you want to be really fancy).
If you’d like more help with your warm up exercises or mobility for specific areas why not check out:
- Ankle Mobility: Your Step By Step Guide
- Our Favourite Stretches For Back Pain
- How to: Hip Mobility Exercises