Why is it Important to Warm up and Cool Down after Exercise?
Posted on 18th December 2019 at 10:00
Why do you need to warm up?
Warming up is very important for preventing yourself from getting injured. It prepares the body for what’s to come, and activates the correct muscle groups so they’re firing ready for the exercises which are about to be performed. This helps you to perform to your optimal level.
Stages of a warm-up:
Heart Raiser to above 140 BPM for 5 to 10 minutes.
Dynamic stretches relevant to the session plan.
Muscle group activation exercises relevant to the session plan (isolation usually)
Imitating the movements in which will be performed during the session.
By doing this, you’re making sure that your body is prepared and firing correctly, blood is circulating thoroughly, and your joints are ready to withstand resistance/impact/weights/sport.
Why do you need to cool down?
Cooling down will prevent your DOMs (Delayed Onset Muscle Sores) from being as bad as they could be without cooling down properly. The aim is to loosen any tightness which may have well occurred during the session within your muscles. Cooling down reduces your heart rate and breathing rate down to a more normal rate and returns muscles back to their optimal length-tension relationships. It prevents venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities, which may cause dizziness or possible fainting, and restores your physiological systems.
Do a re-warm if needed, for 5 minutes to then be ready for a deep stretch out.
Static stretches are good for maintenance or flexibility depending on your goals.
Warming Up in a bit more detail
Hop onto a cardio machine and raise your heart rate gradually or do a functional full body warm up such as star jumps, high knees, mountain climbers, or squats for example with 20-30 seconds time limits.
These include repetitively moving your joints round their fullest range of motion to increase circulation and elasticity: arm rotations, shoulder rotations, hip rotations, knee rotations, ankle-wrist rotations and neck rotations for example. This could be walking lunges or squats with no weights even, preparing the body for the workout.
If, for example, you were going to train legs you would want to isolate your glutes, quads, and hamstrings prior to the workout. Basically, any major muscle groups which take the most impact in the workout, this could include: glute bridges, lying down leg extensions, standing with hands behind head good mornings (hamstrings) or even hamstring bridges.
Upper body: wall angels, Side-lying Thoracic spine rotation with arm reach (chest, back, shoulder), rotator cuff external rotations, banded revers rows, or even basic press ups.
Cooling Down in a bit more detail
A re-warm would include just raising your heart rate back up to 140 bpm if it has dropped, then slowly coming out of it to stretch out afterwards, and perhaps even finish off with some foam rolling.
Types of stretching: (depending on your flexibility goal this will vary):
passive (or relaxed) stretching.
A foam roller is a lightweight, cylindrical tube of compressed foam.
It may be used for many reasons, including increasing flexibility, reducing muscles soreness, and eliminating muscle knots. Foam rolling is a method of self-myofascial release which is the equivalent to giving yourself a Deep Tissue Sports Massage. (But no, it’s not as relaxing or enjoyable!)
Always ensure to foam roll after you’ve completed your static stretches and not before.
You can also use tennis balls for doing active release. It’s an excellent way to aid muscle recovery, although some find it a bit uncomfortable.
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