Why and how to warm up

Generally a warm up feels like it eats out of your training time but it is a vital part of your workout. Just like a car the body needs to warm up before being pushed. We will cover the warm up design itself in another article in more detail, while we will now look at the whys.

Cardiovascular preparation

By doing a cardio based warm up like walking or cycling you can gradually increase the intensity every few minutes helping prepare your heart for increased activity helping you avoid a rapid increase in blood pressure and risk to your heart.

Muscle warm up

Cardio helps warm up your muscles helping you avoid injury while preparing your muscles for the upcoming cardio, strength or flexibility session.

Using the correct energy source

If you skip the warm up you use your muscles more as an energy source that your fat stores. Not only do your fat stores contain more energy per gram but they are a fuel you would rather use for energy than depleting your muscle mass.

In-Gym Cycle Warm up

Start cycling with a level 2 or 3 resistance at 50 revs per minute for 2 minutes, increase your speed to 60 revs for 2 minutes, increase your resistance by 1 level for 2 minutes, increase your speed to 70 revs for 2 minutes, increase your resistance by 1 level for 2 minutes. You are now ready for you weight or cardio session.

Walking warm up

Start walking at 4 km/h for 2 minutes. Increase your speed to 4.5 km/h for 2 minutes, then 5 km/h for 2 minutes, then 5.5 km/h for 2 minutes followed by an increase to 6 km/h for 2 minutes. You good to go for your session!

General guideline

There are many rules and methods out there which will guide you how to monitor your warmup specific to your fitness level based on your heart rate. For those who prefer a simplified old fashioned method, as the old saying goes: “If you have a drop of sweat in under 10 minutes, you’ve warmed up too fast.”. While here we focused on the cardio side of warm ups, you are recommended to always start your workout with a simple 5-10 minute warm up/light round before doing weights. You should now feel warmed up and boosting with energy as your body is now ready to train.

Joni Kowensky
Author: Joni Kowensky