During the winter, we warm up our cars by letting them run for a few minutes before we drive to the mountains. When spring arrives, we tune up our bikes before riding them to ensure everything works right, and we know if anything needs to fixed. We should think of our bodies in the same way, taking the time to prepare the equipment before you engage in any activity.
The purpose of a warm-up is not only to increase your body temperature but to also increase your heart rate and blood flow to your muscles, to prepare those muscles for the work they are about to do and to address your mobility. Completing a warm-up will also decrease your risk of injury, like muscle strains and sprains. I have worked with a few runners with torn calves, whose warm-ups prior to working with me, mainly consisted of walking for 5 minutes. That's not enough. After improving their warm-ups in addition to strength training, their running improved and they were injury free.
Everyone has unique mobility challenges; therefore not all warm-up routines are the same. The activity/workout you will be doing also dictates what you should do in your warm-up. I believe that a warm-up should consist of dynamic stretching, rolling, and some maintenance strength exercises. For example, I occasionally have left knee pain when I run, due to a weak left glute and a tight IT band. Its gotten better in the past year but its still something I need to work on. Before I go for a run, I make sure I roll out my IT bands, shins, and calves, as well as do a couple of glute exercises, focusing more on my left side.
Just like Sean Paul has the ‘right tactics to turn you on,’ I want to give you the right skills to ensure you properly warm up before your workout, hike, bike, or climb. Below are some of my favorite basic warm-up exercises that you should try out!