We’ve all heard that warming up is important — but why!? A good warm up routine may have more benefits than you think.
1. Warming Up Increases Body Temp
In general, warming up increases body temperature and improves blood flow to working muscles. This means we get more oxygen delivered to our muscles, supporting energy production and improving endurance. Warming up can also lead to faster signaling between the brain and the muscles, which can improve power output, speed, and coordination - all great things for your performance!
2. Warming Up Helps to Prevent Injuries
Another benefit of a good warm up is injury prevention. When our muscles are cold, they are less pliable, leaving us vulnerable to strains (tears in muscles or tendons). Warming up makes muscles more resistant to tearing. It can also protect our joints by improving proprioception and priming our stabilizer muscles to kick in when we need them.
3. Warming Up Prepares the Mind for Action
One last benefit of warming up is that it prepares your mind for your workout! For example, a 2013 study found that those who warm up are more likely to feel motivated, enjoy their workout, and may even stick with their exercise routine longer than those who don’t warm up (Ladwig).
Now that we know how important a good warm up routine is, let’s take a look at some tips for warming up effectively.
1. Move from low to high intensity. You want to begin your warm up with some low intensity, aerobic movement that involves your whole body. Some examples include a brisk walk, slow jog, easy jump rope, etc. The purpose here is to gradually increase your heart rate and raise your body temperature. These simple physiological changes will help you “feel” more like working out and prime your body to handle higher intensity movements! As you increase intensity, listen to your body. Some days, you may need a little longer in the low intensity stages. Other days, your body may be ready to ramp it up quickly!
2. Move from general to specific movements. At the start of your warm up, choose activities that will get your whole body moving! Remember, the goal is to increase blood flow to your muscles. As you continue your warm up, you should transition to movements that are more specific to what you’ll be doing in your workout. For example, if you’ll be doing heavy squats in your workout, including some lightweight squats in your warm up is a smart choice! If you’ll be working on triple unders, then include a few explosive jumping activities toward the end of your warm up.
3. Move your joints through large ranges of motion. You may have heard people talk about “dynamic stretching.” Basically, dynamic stretching is moving your joints through ranges of motion without sitting in one static, stretched position. This helps to protect against injury as you prime your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to handle extreme positions. Make a particular effort to move primary joints like your hips, shoulders, ankles, and wrists. Also, be sure to gently move your spine and prime your core muscles to protect your trunk.
4. Set an intention. Your warm up is a great opportunity to focus your attention on one or two primary goals for your workout session. What do you want to accomplish today? Maybe you want to hit a new PR, learn a new jump rope skill, or maybe you simply want to spend 20 minutes moving so that you’ll feel more energized. Whatever your goal, take a minute at the beginning or end of your warm up to identify that goal and set the intention to conquer it!
5. Make it fun! Your warm up should not only prepare your body for your workout. It should also prepare your mind! If you actually look forward to your warm up routine, you’ll be more likely to do it, and hence, more likely stick to your workout routine.
So what exactly does all this look like? Let’s take a look at an example warm up designed to prepare you for a freestyle jump rope session.
How many/How Long
Increase HR and blood flow
Increase HR and blood flow; Neuromuscular activation
Dynamic movement of hips, knees, hamstrings
Knee Hugs & Hamstring Walks
Dynamic stretch of glutes and hamstrings.
Activate core, pecs, and shoulders
Ankle & Wrist Rolls
10-15 seconds (Be sure to hit each side and direction)
Dynamic movement of wrist and ankle joints - prepare for explosive movement
Repeat this 2 to 3 times, increasing intensity each round.
We hope that we have convinced you that a good warm up is worth your while. Have fun and happy jumping.