Let’s talk about warm ups. Before any workout–and especially a high intensity one!–it’s important to prepare your body. Depending on the type of workout you’re about to do and any muscle imbalances or recovering injuries you have, a proper warm up will vary.
Warming Up for Your Workout 101
In general, the components of a solid warm up are:
- Light Cardio | 5-10 minutes on your favorite cardio machine at the gym will do. Gradually increase the pace (think brisk walk, ending with a brisk jog). If you’re at home, you could walk/jog around the block. If you’re short on time and have no equipment, well, that’s why I made this 5-minute warm up video! Bodyweight exercises work, too–no space required.
- Dynamic (Active) Stretching | When most people think of stretching, they think of holding a position in stillness for a prolonged period of time. I’m not talking about that–personally, I save static stretching for post-workout. Before a workout, focus on functional movements that are going to facilitate the range of motion needed to complete the exercises you’re about to do: actively stretch. We’ll do a series of movements to open up the hip flexors, low body, shoulders, core and arms.
Self-mayofascial release (SMR) techniques like foam rolling or trigger point are optional before a workout. If you’re super tight in a certain area to the point that it’d severely hinder a normal range of motion, I’d recommend foam rolling the problem area before the dynamic stretching and cardio portions of your warm up. Otherwise, I think it’s fine to omit. Personally, I prefer to foam roll at the end of a long day or on rest days and spend a solid 20 minutes sprawled out on my floor with my roller while watching TV (and most likely making odd moaning noises). One example of a time I would foam roll before a workout is with long distance runs. My calves are super tight so while I was training for the Boston marathon, I always did some SMR on them before running. Helped a lot!
5-Minute Warm Up for At-Home Workouts
This warm up was made with the workouts I post to the blog in mind. We’ll start with 2 minutes of cardio exercises (4 moves, 15 seconds each, twice through) to gradually increase the heart rate. We’ll then do 3 minutes of dynamic stretches to open up the body and prepare it for intense movement.
It’s worth it to take the extra five minutes and warm up before HIIT workouts. It makes a world of difference when it comes to injury prevention! Could you spend more time warming up? Definitely. And in some cases you should. I’m just being realistic with this sequence: If you’re doing a 15-minute interval workout from my blog do you really want to spend that same amount of time preparing for the workout? My guess is no. Always listen to your body: If you need more time to ease into your workout, do just that.
Enjoy your evening! Sorry this post is coming at you so late–I could not get my sh*t together today!! Maybe it was the rainy weather, but I was so ridiculously unproductive. Unless taking a nap, browsing Donald Trump memes, and stalking 20-year-old Instagram-famous models on the internet (don’t ask) counts as productivity. In that case … NAILED IT.