A fitness workout without a warm-up is like an exam without preparation.
The difference with the exam preparation is that you know you are going to fail.
You can do a fitness workout without understanding what failure looks like.
How can you tell? There is one situation where you may feel something is wrong.
You could walk right into an injury. The safety first principle in fitness? There it goes.
All other situations, related to enhanced performance, will pass you by without notice.
The first law of fitness and exercising is that it has to be safe. Exercise safely is first.
And that includes you and everyone around you at the gym or at home.
Injury prevention is the next thing you need to pay attention to.
Why? Because there are things that you can prevent.
And one of the solutions to achieve that is the right warm-up before a workout.
Science has shown the importance of a serious warm-up.
The word is the dynamic warm-up.
A proper warm-up can help you reduce the risk of injury for your joints and muscles.
Ever seeing people come through the gym door and go right into heavy lifting?
People think they can get away with it. That's a recipe for disaster.
The warm-up solution to prevent injury acts on several essential points:
- it lets the elasticity of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons grow
- it increases the length of the muscles
- it sends more blood to your muscles, and it raises your body temperature
- it prepares the cardiovascular system and your heart gradually
- it supports the nervous system activation, and it speeds up nerve-muscle signaling
So, a proper warm-up helps you prepare for an intense fitness workout.
And takes the risk of injury from this perspective out of the equation.
You go to the gym or exercise at home with a purpose in mind.
There is a reason for training. You want to achieve a particular objective.
A warm-up that takes your training into account will maximize your performance.
Here's a study that clearly shows what performance looks like in this context.
Whether you are doing some aerobic or resistance training, a warm-up helps.
The increased blood flow will deliver more oxygen and energy to perform.
The warm-up will allow you to exert more muscle force than without it.
And this is all about physical preparation.
What about the mental warm-up?
Mental preparation for training
The best mental development starts in your mind with the purpose. Think about it.
If there is no purpose, there is no way you could physically or mentally be prepared.
Once you know your purpose, you can start the mental imagery of achieving the goal.
Mental rehearsing helps.
Elite athletes don't just go to the gym and start training.
They have a purpose, they have a plan, know exactly what they want and how.
There is a reason why it's more effective to know how to get to your destination instead of finding out about it at the moment when you are supposed to leave.
Even a journey of discovery gets planned to be exactly that.
A few notes on the right physical warm-up
Let's take the example of an upcoming resistance training.
There are two critical points for your warm-up:
- there must be a general warm-up to prepare your whole body for exercise
- there must be a specific warm-up for the exact workout you want to perform
Last but not least, make the warm-up short and focused.
Exercise for one hour? Plan for a 5-10 minute warm-up.
Your workout is the core part of the training.
A few ideas about adequate mental preparation
Here are a few essential points for your mental development:
- Create a personal routine to perform before and during your training.
- Get rid of distractions. And start natural and relaxed thinking about your practice.
- Visualize your easy warm-up, your successful training, and your training experience.
- Write down some ideas about your training session, how can you make it even better
The growing ability to focus without distraction brings mental clarity and increased performance.
Mental training is about quality, not quantity.
There is evidence supporting the focused attention of the mind-muscle connection.
Its importance can hardly be underestimated.
Remember, your training is not about results.
As weird as you think this sounds, your training is about your journey.
Focus on the journey, on the quality of the training, on your body's mental and physical feedback, and the results will come. Perfect your technique, if you must perfect something. And your journey will make sure to create a path to reach your destination.
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