When it comes to working out, for many of us, we rush in, do our work out and rush out. Sounds like something you might do too?

By rushing in, we forget the importance of properly warming up and stretching and how including these elements can result in a stronger and more effective workout. 

You deserve to be the best version of yourself, and while warming up and stretching aren’t helping you to burn calories or build muscle like a workout can, they can make or break your workout and future workouts – trust us on this! 

Here’s why:

You’ll reduce the risk of injury (so important) 

You wouldn’t get in a car without warming up the engine (briefly) first, and the same goes for your body. 

Warming up and stretching allows you to work your body to its full potential and provide protective mechanisms in your muscles to minimise your risk of injury. 

Helps you to mentally prepare 

The purpose of warming up before a workout is not just to physically prepare but mental preparation too! Warming up preps up the nervous system and heightens mental awareness and alertness.  

“You have to think it before you can do it. The mind is what makes it all possible.” 

– Kai Greene – 

Increases flexibility which in turn improves performance

Better flexibility means better performance, and posture and promotes efficient movement. Improving your flexibility prevents poor body alignment and ensures muscles, tendons and ligaments are ready to lift which in turn decreases injury risk. 

No machine at the gym is a challenge 

A warm body and mind will help you tackle anything at the gym. Getting yourself in the right mindset and physical ability before a workout will give you the confidence to work out like a pro!

So, how do you warm-up effectively?

Really, it can be done in any way that raises your heart rate. Popular warm-up exercises you might like to try, include walking for a few minutes, skipping or some dynamic stretching. Or if you have access to cardio equipment you can use the rowing machine or bicycle. 

However, for most people who are in the gym preparing to do resistance training, you can perform the first couple of exercises from your workout plan at a much slower pace and with lighter weights.

It’s important to remember that whatever you start with as your warm-up, you do it at a slow pace. The purpose is to prime your body ready to train.

Our top tips on stretching:

  • Don’t bounce while stretching as this can lead to a tear or pull in the muscle. 
  • Aim to hold your stretches for 30 seconds or longer (60 seconds is best!)
  • Try to stretch all muscles in slow motion as jolting into stretches can cause injuries 
  • Light stretching is key, as overstretching, pulling a muscle further than it needs/can go, can cause injury

Finally, once you’ve warmed up, stretched and completed your workout, it is equally as important to cool your body down. So, make sure you take some time post-workout to bring your pace down and slowly lower your heart rate with dynamic stretches whilst keeping your body moving.