Your warm up is not separate from your workout, it is a part of your workout. An effective warm up will get your blood flowing, physically warm the body, and raise your heart rate slightly – helping prepare your body for the demands of your training. All of these things combined, allows for a smoother workout and reduced risk of injury.
Yet so many of us forgo a warm up all together, and just dive into the meat of the workout. How many of us just breeze through a barely thought out “warm up”, consisting of some basic arm stretches, leg swings, and maybe some light body weight movements? Most people hate the warm up, the view it as something annoying they have to do before doing the “fun” part of their workout.
Yet, the warm up may be one of the most important things you can possibly do as part of your workout.
As I mentioned above, the warm up actually helps prepare the body for the rigours of your training. Not only by physically making the body warmer, raising your heart rate, and getting the blood flowing – but by using the time to work on the weak links in your body. An effective warm up may help you address the postural imbalances you face, the mobility issues holding you back, and help you activate certain chains of muscles you’ll be focusing on using during your training.
Now, you may heard it before – sitting is the new smoking. Ok, well it’s not quite that bad, but sitting all day isn’t the best thing for your body. Actually, being in one “shape” all day (be it standing, sitting, kneeling, etc.) is not great for the body. It just so happens that most of us spend our days sitting at desks, in cars, on the couch, or just about anywhere else. So the common “shape” we find our bodies in, is a seated “shape”.
When we sit all day, our bodies get used to being in a certain position. Essentially, our bodies become really good at sitting – after all, it’s what we’re telling our body it needs to do 90% of the time. Commonly you’ll find that many of us who sit all day have shoulders that roll forward, heads that reach forward, a hunched upper back, and tight hips among other things. All of those adaptations lend themselves to being good at sitting – and not much else.
Many of us finish our work day, then head to the gym to train after having spent the majority of the day in a seated position. We then skip our warm up, or do some haphazard version of a warm up, and then get right into lifting or running. Are you starting to see why so many people are sore, injured, or just not being able to train or move, the way they wish they could?
If you want to move well, feel amazing, and get the most out of your training – and you’re sitting at a desk all day – you’ll need to have an effective warm up. It will help you not only undue some of the bad habits our bodies ingrain from sitting all day, but also open up your posture, and help to reduce your risk of injury. So today, let’s look at some simple things you can do during your warm up to help undo all that sitting.
Foam rolling is a great way to get the blood flowing in the body, get your fascia and connective tissue sliding with ease, and help to relax tight muscles groups. After sitting at a desk all day, it might be a good idea to foam roll your thighs (quads) and lats (sides of the upper back). You may also want to use a lacrosse ball or smaller medicine ball to roll out your chest/pecs. Try rolling each area slowly, while breathing into those areas, for 30 sec to 1 min each.
When you sit all day, you’re upper back has a tendency to round forward and get stuck in a flexed position. It’s important that you can move in and out of both flexion and extension (rounding forward and arching backwards) if you want to keep your spine feeling great and improve your movement.
Finally, take few to stretch your tight hips. When you sit at desk all day long, your hips are stuck in a flexed position. It’s important to open them up, in order to reduce the risk of injury, and to improve performance. Hips that can extend well (the opposite of flexion) will allow your glutes (the powerful butt muscles) to fire well – which is important if you want to maximize your training. Try this stretch above using a bench, chair, wall, or box as pictured. You can move further away from the box/bench as needed to reduce the stretch, you do not need to hold onto the box or bench. You can adjust the height of the bench or box depending on your height and flexibility. Get tall, tuck your tail bone under (like a dog tucking its tail), and gently press the hips and pelvis forward while squeezing your glutes. Hold for a second or two, ease out of the stretch, and repeat for 5-10x per leg. We’re not focusing on long holds here, just gentle short holds while actively squeezing your glutes.
Try all this out the next time you go to the gym before your workout. Try starting with a light walk on the treadmill for 5 mins to get the blood flowing, then dive into performing these 3 movements. Your training will improve and you’ll be slowly undoing the habits of being in a seated position all day.
Have questions? Not sure where to start? Need help with your warm up or training? Contact your nearest Wynn Fitness and work with one of our Wynn Fitness Trainers today. They’ll be more than happy to guide you.
We would like to thank Guest Blogger and RHBOT Member Tim Bell, Social Media Coordinator, Wynn Fitness Club
11160 Yonge St, Richmond Hill
Wynn Fitness Clubs are proudly Canadian owned and operated, offering 4 convenient locations in Mississauga, Richmond Hill, and Toronto West (North York) to serve you. In an industry dominated by large expensive US box chains packed full of people with long waits for equipment and less personalized service, we promise to offer the friendliest, full-service, affordable and inspiring fitness experience under one roof.
Our beautifully designed fitness clubs offer an abundance of new high-end equipment using the latest and most exciting technology to motivate and inspire you. Innovative open-concept functional training rooms, separate free-weight areas and spacious group fitness studios provide for a superior workout at our gym while our executive style change rooms and eucalyptus steam areas create a relaxing way to complete your Wynn Fitness gym experience.
The impressive and cost-effective selection of innovative programs and services available throughout our clubs also means no matter your fitness and wellness goals, we have what you need to look and feel your best! When you join our fitness family, you’ll discover the people, equipment, programs and support to feel welcomed, comfortable, challenged and excited at what’s possible for you!