Warming up properly
before you do weight training is important in helping to avoid injury to your
muscles, and may reduce post-workout aches and pains. A proper warm up
increases circulation, giving your muscles more oxygen and conditioning the
muscle fibers so they become more pliable.
Though warming up is important, you may be surprised to find
that your usual ways of warming up for other forms of exercise may not be
optimal when applied to warming up for weight training. In fact, your current
warm up routine may contribute to decreased performance and a greater risk of
There are four common mistakes people make in preparation
for weight training, which are:
1) Doing 5-10 minutes of cardio – While cardio is great for
you to do on a regular basis, it is not ideal before a weight training session.
Cardio will burn whatever glycogen is currently stored in your muscles, which
is precisely the fuel that you will need for your weight training session. So by
doing cardio you are basically going into your exercise session with your
energy reserves already partly depleted.
2) Stretching before your weight training session – Because
muscle fibers are at their optimal contraction length when resting, when you
stretch them they become temporarily weakened, which is not what you want
before demanding a lot of work from them. So the best time to stretch is
actually after your weight training
session. An exception would be to stretch a muscle that is chronically tight,
as it is not normally at its optimal length while at rest. You can also help
the muscle group you intend to work by stretching its antagonists (opposing
muscles). For example, squatting exercises use your quadricep muscles, so you
would want to stretch your hip flexors.
3) High rep warm up with low weights – This adds unnecessary
lactic acid to your muscles before your workout begins, causing them to burn
out more quickly, and reducing performance.
4) Low reps with heavy weights – Doing this will shock your
nervous system, muscles and joints, which are not prepared to work at full
capacity at the beginning of your workout.
A good warm up for weight training that will set you up for
optimal performance consists of completing five sets of reps as follows, resting
for 45 seconds to a minute between warm up sets:
Set 1) 12 reps using 25% of your target weight
Set 2) 8 reps with 50% of your target weight
Set 3) 5 reps with 75% of your target weight
Set 4) 3 reps with 85% of your target weight
Set 5) 1 rep with 95% of your target weight
Following this technique should prepare your body for the
workout it is about to receive without unduly tiring your muscles before you
even start, contributing to better performance and fewer injuries.
Health and wellness signifies many factors including your
nutrition, preventative care, appropriate corrective care and the small choices
you make every day in the course of living. If you have questions about this
article, your general or spinal health, please ask. We are here to help!
Dr. Matt Ramirez graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Human Biology in 2004 and received his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree in 2006. He specializes in auto injury recovery and rehabilitation and has enhanced and improved thousands of lives as well as treated people of all ages over the years. He is also an expert in health and wellness, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and more...