A proper warmup should be a staple in your programming, no matter what your level of experience is. The excuse for skipping a warmup usually consist of "I don't have time" or something of that nature. Using one of my favorite dad quotes "If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to fix it later?"
Some athletes want to skip the warmup so they can get straight to the meat and potatoes of the workout. As delicious as meat and potatoes are, you still need some sides dishes, otherwise it isn't a complete meal. One of my athletes was reporting stiffness in the joints and a bit of a plateau. I found out that this athlete was severely neglecting his warmup, so I had him do extensive warmup drills every day. He PR'd 3 times in a single week and felt more mobility in his joints. This is one example of the benefits that a proper warmup will offer you.
USA Weightlifting states that “A thorough warm up will improve performance through the following mechanisms:
- Increased rate and strength of muscle contraction
- Increased muscle coordination through related movements
- Increased metabolic rate
- Increased efficiency of the neuromuscular system
- Increased work capacity
- Improve cardiovascular and respiratory efficiency, e.g., the adaptation of the heart to exercise stress is improved and likewise oxygen delivery to working muscles is a benefit.
- Reducing the possibility of injury through increased muscle elasticity and improving the joint range of motion. This is particularly important for the development of skill efficiency in Weightlifting.
- Psychological benefits”
These benefits are achieved by following a simple warmup pattern. The warmup pattern can be tailored to fit all fitness regimens.This article will identify and out the three components of every warmup.
When walking into the gym, it is good to consider the body as being in a "cold" state: The body must be warmed up to a level where it can safely perform the exercises it is about to endure. A good general warmup should involve the major muscle groups of the body under light or minimal load and does not mimic the specific movements of the workout.
Some examples of a general warm up include light calisthenics, running, rowing, jump rope or burpees (YAY!).
A general warmup is supposed to increased the core temperature of the body and induce perspiration, but not to a point of muscle fatigue.
After the general warmup comes stretching.
It is best to begin stretches after the general warmup to increase the elasticity of the muscles and joints. My favorite type of stretching is SMR. Rolling out the muscles is the easiest way to get rids of tight fascia that may have become constricted from a day of sitting at a computer or sleeping in a less than optimal position the night before.
SMR can also help increase the mobility of new athletes to get into the proper position of the major lifts.
After stretching is completed, it is time to move on the the final aspect of the warmup.
After the first two portions of the warmup are completed, it's time to engage in the specific portion of the warmup. Like the name implies, the specific warmup contains movements that are specific to the movements of the workout.
Light barbell complexes are ideal for a specific warmup because they will target the movements of the lifts, and prepare the muscles for the loading that is about to take place. Progressing up to the working weight should not be part of the specific warm up, that should begin after the specific warm up has been completed.
This guide for warming up is about as simple of directions as I can make. Implementing this warmup into your daily training routine will help you to continue to yield positive results, and prevent injuries.