Most people know that warming up before training can be important and helpful. Yet it’s less common to truly know why we should warmup in the first place, plus how we should truly warmup too.
Our co-founder Glen Carroll breaks down the warmup into two separate blog posts. Part 1 here covers why we should warmup, while Part 2 will focus on how we should warmup.
Now, often you’ll hear the rationale behind warming up is to “prevent injury.” Whilst this claim does have some justification behind it, this isn’t necessarily the chief reason why we warmup. Especially as the factors which impact the likelihood of an injury occurring can be complex and multifaceted.
Poor load management over time can impact injury potential, as can simply having a previous injury. Plus, sometimes freak events and bad luck can just happen. So, the reality is that sometimes you may get injured no matter how optimal your warmup is and regardless of how perfect your lifting technique is within the session itself.
This doesn’t mean that your warmup doesn’t matter though! So, what is the purpose of a warmup before lifting?
Well, when it comes to training, you’re never 100% ready to optimally perform when you first walk into the gym no matter how talented you are. Yet if you progressively stimulate your neuromuscular system, you will be at your best very quickly. This is where a savvy warmup can have enormous value, especially in certain scenarios and if strategically applied.
Ultimately the goal of a warmup really involves increasing physical preparedness to optimally perform within the training session. A good warmup which optimally prepares you may also help to reduce the risk of injury, both within the training session and in the future too.
So, the warmup should result in numerous physiological and psychological alterations to aid physical preparedness, such as:
– Increased muscle and body temperature
– Increased blood flow
– Increased ventilatory rate
– Superior joint range of motion
– Heightened focus and attention
– Lower stress and anxiety
– Neural potentiation
– Increased strength and work capacity potential
The warmup can also help to signal to the lifter that training has now begun and that it is time to focus and prepare to perform. So, instead of viewing the warmup as a separate and low priority, we can view it as part of training itself, whereby it acts as the key transitional period from work and life, to lifting.
This is essential, because as stated above you are never 100% ready to optimally perform upon entering the gym. Yet you can be ready to maximally perform quickly if you focus on a few key components. This is why we warmup!
So, the warmup helps to prepare us to optimally perform, which can support the achievement of superior training adaptations and outcomes. This may potentially allow us to be more injury resilient and better enjoy the training process, as our returns on our training efforts may be greater.
Whilst doing some booty band crab walks and foam rolling in your warmup may have benefit at times, whether it is needed or helpful in all scenarios is debatable. Especially if it steals away time from other valuable things like the training session itself, which can often provide superior benefits.
So, when it comes to the warmup, we warmup to help us increase physical preparedness! Yet what an optimal warmup entails can vary wildly according to the client and context. I’ll cover how we should warmup next time though.
Thanks for reading,