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Why Warm Ups are an Important Aspect of a Workout

Warming the body up before a workout is beneficial for many reasons

Warming the body up before a workout is beneficial for many reasons; such as revving up your cardiovascular system, raising your body temperature (literally warming your body up), and increasing blood flow in and out of your muscles. Some studies show that warming up may also reduce muscle soreness post workout and reduce the risk of injury during a workout.

Different Types of Workout Warm Ups

There are many different types of warm ups. Before a weight training session or a HITT workout, I prefer an active based warm up with some passive twists. Active, meaning the participant is moving through ranges of motions with their body that actually requires their muscles to fire, stretch and stabilize VS a passive warm up where a participant simply sinks and sits into positions.

I also like the concept of doing 1-2 areas of foam rolling for 2 minutes per area that are targeted towards the workout of the day. For example, if a client is doing a pull-up heavy day, let’s foam roll the lats and open up the t-spine on the foam roller after our dynamic workout. This enters the workout specific aspect of the warm up which caters towards that day’s tasks. I prefer to leave my static (long held) stretches until after a workout is finished; a cool down of sorts. Static stretches should be held in a comfortable range for 60 seconds per muscle group, per side.

These days gym slots are booked down to the hour so static stretches may take a hit, complete them at home (hopefully while still a little warm).

To summarize, warmups and cool-downs pose little risk and seem to give your heart and muscles a chance to ease into — and out of — an exercise session, and for this reason it is important to participate in them.

Written by: Kaitlyn Casper BSc., MPT, COMT, Registered Physiotherapist.