How to get warm, not hurt yourself, and look awesome
Hands down the coolest people in the gym are the ones doing dynamic warm-ups, because they usually know what they’re doing. On the off chance that they don’t, well, at least they got the first part right.
Anywhere you see high-end athletes preparing, you’ll see dynamic warmups. They’re what boxers do before they fight, what swimmers do before they swim, what climbers do before they climb, and what football players do before they play.
You’ve probably noticed a pattern, but the question remains: Why are they all warming up the same way? It is because they are about to put their bodies under stress, and they want to be prepared.
There are three big advantages to dynamic warm-ups that make them so much better than walking on a treadmill or static stretching:
1. Dynamic warm-ups literally warm up you up, while static stretching can be done without any effect on your muscles’ core temperature.
2. Dynamic stretching can increase your range of motion
3. Dynamic stretching can be very activity- or sport-specific, allowing you to cater your warm-ups to the task at hand.
The activity-specific point is the one most important, and the most commonly neglected, when you see the average joe warm up.
On any given day at the gym, you’re bound to see someone arrive, hop on the treadmill for a few minutes, and then head over to the bench press. See the disconnect?
Don’t misunderstand me: there is nothing wrong with doing a little cardio to get warm before lifting. When Chicago winters are at their bitterest, I never start lifting without a little cardio. I just prefer to see a little activity-specific warm-ups before you try to lift something heavy.
If today is upper-body day, try this dynamic warm-up to get you started:
· Band pull-aparts x 10
· T-push-ups x 10
· Scap push-up x 8
· Crawling x 30 seconds
After these warm-ups, your upper body should feel strong and ready to lift heavy things!
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