General Warm-Up Exercises

Although it is a step that many skip in their sports routines, warming up is a key process to stimulate the muscles before starting any type of training or sports practice. They allow the body to be prepared for sports, increasing its efficiency and preventing muscle and joint injuries.

The warm-up can also be known as a short introduction to any type of exercise. Through some movements, which can be similar to training, we will activate all the muscle tissues that are going to execute said movement. Without going any further, in a bench press you start by doing the same exercise but only with the bar, and without placing the desired weight. In this way, the musculature is activated and it begins to prepare itself to require the breaking of subsequent fibers during training.

What are warm-up exercises?

General warm- up exercises is all those activities designed to prepare all muscle groups for training, causing an increase in muscle temperature. The heating must be gradual and constant, to avoid any type of overload. The intensity should go up over time until you reach the point of maximum demand in training. The rhythm of the heart and the respiratory system will also increase gradually, and in parallel, since the more demanding the exercises, the more nutrients and oxygen will also be needed. 

When warming up we will follow a logical structure, to activate the body for sports activity. Initially, we will start with cardiovascular exercises such as the treadmill, spinning or elliptical, to provide the muscles with a minimum temperature before starting the joint warm -up. The second phase is intended to warm up the different muscle groups in a more specific way. These are simply joint movements, which must be performed in a logical order (either ascending or descending). Finally, we will perform global stretching. This will allow you to get more elastic muscles to perform the training. Each exercise should last between six and 12 seconds, without feeling any pain or making sudden movements.

The effects of global warming have a direct impact on the muscles, allowing an increase in their strength and performance. However, they also have consequences on the nervous system, increasing attention span and allowing better transmission of nerve impulses, improving coordination.

Benefits of warming up before exercising

Warming up before playing sports is essential for injury prevention work, and also to achieve the greatest possible efficiency in our muscle groups. All in all, the most prominent benefits of taking the trouble to perform general warm-up exercises are the following:

  • Improves physical and physiological performance. The warm-up stimulates the muscles to get the most out of it and subject it to the maximum demand.
  • In addition to muscle-loading exercises, warm-ups also improve balance and muscle coordination.
  • In cardiovascular tests, such as running or cycling, performing warm-up exercises improves heart or respiratory rate, allowing greater resistance in the exercise.
  • Helps prevent injuries. The warm-up activates the muscles, protecting all the muscles and joints from possible ailments such as muscle contractures.

In those explosion exercises, the warm-up is even more fundamental. Without activating the muscles we can break at the first change and suffer an injury. In gym routines, there is a type of training known as ascending pyramid. In these exercises, those series with higher weight and lower repetitions are performed first. Thus, the muscle groups that we are going to work must be warmed up properly. Unlike the inverted pyramid, where you go from less to weight to more, the most explosive exercises are performed in the initial phase, increasing the risk of injury. Precisely, one of the purposes of the general warming is to prevent us from falling into dry dock.

How to perform general warm-up exercises

There are different types of general warm-up, depending on the purpose and objective that we have in our routine. The general warm-up, which we will focus on, prepares us for physical activity based on low-intensity exercises. However, we can also carry out a preventive warm-up if we are recovering from some type of injury, a more specific warm-up in some muscle groups or a dynamic warm-up where exercises that combine flexibility, strength, balance and coordination are performed.

All general warm-ups will start with 15 minutes, which will be divided into three phases. The first will be destined to a five-minute action which will include walking, continuous running or spinning. Next, stretching of the main muscles that have been worked in the anterior part will be carried out. This first phase will close with five minutes of generic exercises such as jumps, abdominals, lumbar exercises… The second part will be directed to a more specific part, which wills last ten minutes. In this phase we will already carry out exercises directly related to the type of training that we are going to carry out. For example, if we are going to train the pectorals, the exercises performed will be with these muscles. Likewise, if a sports activity such as a basketball or football game is going to be carried out, directly related exercises such as shots on goal or shots at the basket will be carried out. The ideal is to leave between 5 and 10 minutes of recovery, but they should never exceed 20 minutes, since in this case the effects of heating will begin to diminish.

For a gym routine, we will also propose ten types of exercise that are ideal to start the training with maximum intensity. The first step is similar to the previous one. 5-10 minutes on the treadmill or bike will raise your body temperature and start activating your muscles and fibers. If you do not have any of these elements, it is also possible to perform the so-called star jumps. It consists of jumping at the same time that the legs are opened and the arms are raised. With about 20 jumps you will start to warm up. Once one of these three exercises has been done, we will continue with a jog without moving from the site for 30 seconds. Next, we will maintain the trot while raising the arms frontally, or laterally and alternately performing 20 repetitions with each arm. We will finish the general warm-up, before moving on to the specific one, with push-ups (you can support your knees if you wish), elbow and shoulder flexion’s on the pulley and neck rotation. With these exercises, we will have a body ready to start our routine in the fitness room.

The general warm-up is essential to achieve maximum muscular efficiency and prevent injuries. It is as or more important than stretching at the end of the activity. There is no set time for warming up, but it should always be between 15 and 50 minutes, always depending on the activity you want to do. The warm-up, however, should not exceed that: a simple warm-up. It must be done calmly if you want to fulfill the objective of the function. In the warm-up, exhaustion should never be reached or it could reduce our subsequent performance throughout the training session, or the match that we are going to play.

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