You wouldn’t hop into your swanky car and go from 0-100mph in a matter of seconds, so why would you do that with your body? It’s so important that you get the engine (your body) warmed up before you put your foot down.
A good warm up should increase your heart rate, increase your core temperature and give you a greater range of motion. This will ensure that your muscles, joints and connective tissues are ready for a top performance. What’s more? You’ll be less likely to sustain an injury – we all know how it ends when a cold elastic band is stretched…so to avoid that, have a go at the following dynamic warm up:
- 1 minute jogging on the spot
- 20 star jumps
- 10 low squats (sit down really low, as if on a chair, before rising back up).
- 10 lunges (alternating legs)
- 10 shoulder rotations (hold your arms out to the side and then move them in large circular motions)
- 10 spiderman steps (get in to a press up positon and then bring the right leg up to shoulder level. Return to press up position and repeat using left leg)
- 10 press ups
After 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretches (like those above), you’ll be ready to get started with your main session.
You’ve been cruising along in your car at 70mph for over an hour now. Imagine slamming on the breaks and coming to a halt in seconds. Now imagine those poor, poor tires and your whip lashed neck.
Worth it? No. It would much better to spend a little extra time slowing down and preventing any damage.
Once you’ve finished your workout, it’s so tempting to head straight to the shower and freshen up. However, you should never underestimate the importance of a good cool down. Neglecting to stretch may lead to injuries and sore muscles, and who would want that?
Post-workout stretches should be static (rather than dynamic) – this means that you’ll hold each positon for 10 seconds or more. This type of stretching will allow your heart rate and body temperature to gradually return to normal, as well as preventing lactic acid to build up.
Here’s an example of a cool down:
- 30 seconds seated toe touch
- 30 seconds seated butterfly (sit on the floor with the soles of your feet pressed together. Now press down on your knees with your elbows)
- 30 seconds hamstring stretch (lie on your back and lift and straighten your right leg so that your foot is facing the ceiling. Switch legs)
- 30 seconds half lunge (kneel with your left leg placed in front. Now press your left leg forward and hold. Switch legs)
- 30 seconds chest stretch (stand up straight and interlace your fingers behind your back, straightening your arms)
- 30 seconds cat pose (Get on your hands and knees and then arch your back)
Try to stretch for at least 5-10 minutes.
We’ve all got busy schedules, but squeezing in 5 minutes before and after your workout is do-able for even the busiest of bees. Your body will be grateful – fact.