Warming up before a workout is super important to make sure your body is ready for the physical demands of exercise. It's not just about preventing injury, it can also boost your physical performance and make your workout more effective overall.
So in this article, we'll talk about why warming up is so crucial and provide you with some of the best warm-up exercises to get your body ready for a workout.
Why Warming Up Before a Workout is Important?
Warming up before a workout is an essential component of any fitness routine. By engaging in a warm-up routine, you can prepare your body for the physical demands of exercise.
During a warm-up, your heart rate and blood flow increase, which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, making them more pliable and less susceptible to injury. Additionally, a proper warm-up can help improve joint mobility and flexibility, which can enhance your range of motion and overall athletic performance.
Best Warmup Exercises
To prepare your muscles for most workouts, consider incorporating a series of warm-up exercises that include a variety of movements.
A sport-specific warm-up may be useful, but the following exercises will help to improve your flexibility and reduce the risk of injury across multiple activities. Begin slowly, and gradually progress through each exercise to a more challenging phase.
Squats are a dynamic and multi-functional exercise that work out numerous muscles in your lower body, such as your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
it's recommended that you go down halfway for the first few repetitions, making the exercise more manageable. Then, gradually increase the difficulty level, so the last few reps are full squats.
Once your body is adequately warmed up, you can enhance the intensity of your squats by holding weights.
How to do it
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward or slightly outward.
- Engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button towards your spine.
- Slowly bend your knees and push your hips back as if you are about to sit in a chair. Keep your chest lifted and your back straight.
- Continue lowering your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure your knees are in line with your toes, but not extending over them.
- Pause briefly at the bottom of the squat and then exhale as you push back up through your heels, returning to a standing position.
- Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps, usually 8-12 repetitions for beginners.
The plank exercise is an effective warm-up for strengthening your core and back muscles, enhancing your posture and balance.
When you are ready to progress beyond the basic plank, you can challenge yourself by attempting more advanced variations like the forearm plank or the side plank.
How to do it
- Get into a pushup position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your toes on the ground. If you're new to planking, try doing it on your knees. If you’re more advanced, you can perform a plank on your forearms or a high plank with your arms fully extended.
- Keep your palms and toes firmly planted on the ground and maintain a straight back with engaged core muscles. Avoid letting your head or back droop downwards.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on your ability and fitness level. Don't forget to breathe normally throughout the exercise.
Side lunges are an excellent warm-up exercise for strengthening your lower body muscles, including your legs, glutes, and hips. If you're a beginner, you can begin by doing partial lunges and gradually progress to the full range of motion.
Once you've completed a proper warm-up, you can make the exercise more challenging by incorporating dumbbells or opposite-hand reaches. These modifications add resistance and enhance your overall strength and balance.
How to do it
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Take a wide step to the side with your right foot, keeping your left foot firmly planted on the ground. Your right knee should bend as you lower your body into a lunge position.
- Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged throughout the movement. Your right knee should align with your right foot, and your left leg should remain straight.
- Hold the lunge position for a few seconds before pushing yourself back up to the starting position.
- Repeat the same movement, but this time step out to the left side with your left foot.
- Do 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions on each side.
- To make the exercise more challenging, you can hold a dumbbell in each hand or perform a lateral reach with the opposite hand to the lunging leg.
Triceps warmup is designed to target and warm up the triceps muscle group. By incorporating these exercises into your pre-workout routine, you can improve your triceps' flexibility and range of motion, reducing your risk of injury during your workout.
How to do it
- Extend your arms out to the sides so they’re parallel to the floor, keeping your palms facing down.
- Keep your arms straight and rotate them in backward circles for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Rotate your arms in forward circles for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Turn your palms to face forward and pulse your arms back and forth for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat the pulsing movement with your palms facing backward, up, and down for another 20 to 30 seconds.
- Perform one to three sets of these movements to properly warm-up your triceps.
Jogging leg lifts
Jogging leg lifts are a great way to increase your heart rate and boost circulation in your body.
You can perform this exercise by jogging in place or running back and forth, depending on the amount of space available to you. Each segment of this exercise should be done for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you find it too intense, you can decrease the difficulty by doing it at a slower walking pace.
How to do it
- Start jogging at a slow pace.
- After about a minute, lift your knees up toward your chest or kick your feet upward toward your buttocks while jogging for at least 30 seconds.
- Return to jogging at a slow pace.
Jumping jacks are a great warm-up exercise because they engage the entire body, increasing the heart rate, and promoting blood flow to the muscles. They also help to loosen up the joints and improve flexibility, making them a perfect way to prepare for more strenuous activities.
Additionally, jumping jacks can help to improve coordination and balance while also promoting weight loss and improving overall fitness.
How to do it
- Stand upright with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
- Jump up and spread your feet out wider than your hips, while simultaneously raising your arms above your head.
- As you land, bring your feet back together and lower your arms to your sides.
- Repeat the motion, jumping up and spreading your feet out while raising your arms overhead again.
- Continue doing jumping jacks for 30 seconds to 1 minute as part of your warm-up routine.
Inchworms are a great warm-up exercise because they help to activate and stretch multiple muscle groups, including the hamstrings, core, and shoulders. This exercise also gets the heart rate up, promoting blood flow to the muscles and preparing the body for more intense activity.
How to do it
- Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your legs straight, until your fingertips touch the ground.
- Walk your hands forward, keeping your legs straight, until you are in a high plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Take small steps with your feet and walk your hands backward towards your feet, keeping your legs straight.
- Repeat for several repetitions or for a set amount of time, usually 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Looking for a new and exciting way to get fit and learn some new skills, why not try a workout at Ubud Muay Thai? With a wide range of classes, including Muay Thai training, boxing classes, strength and cardio conditioning, and more, there's something for everyone. Come join our friendly community and discover the benefits of training at Ubud Muay Thai today!