However, there are a several good reasons why it definitely pays off. You warm your muscles, which then contract and relax more efficiently, improving your speed and strength. While it’s tough to prove injury prevention, the chances are if you are warmed up, you will be less likely to get injured.
You reduce the risk of strains and pulls by elevating body temperature, and lower the stress on your heart by dilating your blood vessels. Increasing your blood temp early in the game means more oxygen is available to your muscles, which can improve endurance. Efficient cooling, range of motion, and mental focus are also all improved during the warm-up.1
So you can reap the benefits of the warm up without wasting time figuring out what you want to do, we asked our experts what their favorite warm up routine is before doing a full body strength workout to ensure total benefit.
The goal of a warm up routine is to increase body temperature, maximize range of motion, and prepare the mind and body for the workout ahead. With this in mind, I think the ideal routine would have 3 components and last around 10-15 minutes and are customized to your strengths & weaknesses:
Given we don’t live in an ideal world, just dynamic stretching with a little muscle activation blended in can likely achieve probably 70% of the benefits of a longer warm up in about 3-5 minutes. I recommend dynamic stretching before any and all exercise activities. One last thing to mention, a few minutes of low level cardio (jumping rope, jogging etc.) may help you warm up your muscles and get a sweat if the dynamic stretching and muscle activation exercises do not give you a sweat.
– Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT
I usually start my total body strength workouts with a dynamic stretching sequence followed by a couple circuits of planks, glute bridges, and hip flexor stretches. Then I’ll do side steps with a resistance band and a crawling exercise. I finish my warm-up with a couple Turkish Get-Ups on each side. I prep for my biggest lifts with some lighters sets, and then I’m good to go!
Here’s a quick summary:
For most people, I think foam rolling/SMR on the IT Band, rectus femoris (outside of quad – front thigh) is a great start. If you have access to a Rad roller, I would use that [on the middle/upper back] before the workout as well. Following the foam rolling up with some hamstring and hip flexor stretches can help to loosen the lower body. Band windmills and band pull-aparts can help to loosen up the shoulders. After that, doing one or two bodyweight or light sets of the exercise you will be doing can round off the warm-up routine.
Here’s a summary:
– John Levya, CSCS, CPT
The best warm-up routine before a full-body strength training workout is one that focuses on three things: joint mobility, joint stability, and muscle activation. The exercises you choose should also slightly increase your body temperature and allow you to move in many different ways (you know…since most of us sit all day) to prepare you for exercise.
I recommend starting your warm-up with both static and dynamic mobility exercises that target your hip flexors, quads, adductors (inner thighs), and pecs. Focus on your weakest links!
Then, move onto stability/activation exercises to warm-up those muscles you don’t rely on when you’re sitting….mainly your butt. Glute bridges, planks, and low-level bodyweight exercises such as pushups, squats, and lunges work well.
Finally, get up and move! Crawl, skip, hop jump, lunge, and move in as many ways as possible. As humans we were meant to move, and like anything else in life, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
Here’s a summary:
– Stephen Bergeron, CSCS, CPT
The best full-body warm-up is one that is specific to you, but should definitely accomplish a few of these important things:
In a customized strength training program, a person’s warm-up routine would be individualized to fit their specific struggles (for example: Sally’s stressful desk job causes her to hold her breath and her hips to get tight, so her emphasis is first on calming her body and mind with breathing exercises, giving her hips some extra love, then activating her abdominals). Your best warm-up hit those 6 warm-up goals and keeps your individual needs in mind.
– Monika Volkmar, Owner/Founder of The Dance Training Project
What’s your favorite warm up routine?