Recently I asked our contributing personal trainer and coachJason Onserud(remember his great rundown on how to create aresistance training program?) to talk about the best ways to warm up before you start strength training. Here’s what he said…
First of all you should know why it’s important to warm up. It’ll help improve the performance of your session and in turn the result of your hard work. Warming up helps reduce the chance of injury and wear and tear on your joints too.
Start with a cardio warm-up:Complete 10 minutes of a low intensity exercise at 50% of your maximum heart rate. If you aren’t tracking your heart rate, this is a pretty easy pace–think a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Try jogging, biking or skipping rope. This will increase your heart rate and actually warm up your body and muscle temperature as well as your mind.
Next, warm up your joints:What you do here depends on what muscles you’re planning to work on, but you should perform non-weight loaded movements for each of the joints that will be involved in your training session. For example, warm up the knees with squats, knee circles and knee figure-eights. 10 reps each is a good guideline to follow. It’ll help you develop an awareness of your joints and in turn enhance proper movements in strength training. It can even improve joint health by increasing fluid within the joints.
Finally, prepare your muscles:Rather than jumping right into a super set lifting your maximum weight, start by performing low reps of the first few exercises in your program. Do 6 reps at 50% of the weight to be lifted for the first set, then 4 reps at 70%, and 2 reps at 90%. Rest 2 minutes and then begin your workout. Example: If your first set of bench presses will be 150 lbs, then warm up by performing 6 reps at 75 lbs, 4 reps at 105 lbs and finally 2 reps at 135 lbs.