What is warm-up and what is the purpose of it
Warm-up is a type of physical activity done before the actual training or any other type of performance. In other words it’s a set of exercises designed to heat you up. It is important part of any type of sport especially bodybuilding. Its purpose is to prepare an athlete for the training session, game or eventually for the competition.
Ideal weight lifting warm-up should increase the body temperature, heart rate and the blood flow in muscles; prepare joints, tendons and nerves for the heavy lifting session.
Without the proper warm-up our body will be cold and might be stiff. We won’t be able to lift as heavy weights, train as long as we could. Basically our performance will suffer. Because the intensity and the endurance of the training goes down our muscles won’t grow as quick and as big as they could.
What is the worse, without heating up our body, muscles and other tissues, we’ll be prone to injury what means we could hurt ourselves during workout and therefore stop training for weeks or even months.
Parts of the warm-up
We can divide bodybuilding warm-up into 2 parts or stages:
- General warm-up – preparing cardiovascular system.
- Warm-up with the training equipment – heating up muscles and preparing the nervous system.
1. General warm-up
General warm-up is designed to prepare your cardiovascular system (heart and veins), stretch you a bit and increase mobility in joints. For this part you should perform some type of aerobic exercise like jogging, working on a punch bag or even walking to your gym rather than using a car. You can also use some cardio equipment like:
- stationary bike,
- rowing machine,
- elliptical trainer,
The idea of it is to heat up the whole body, make the blood flow faster. It should last between 5-10 minutes – until you start to sweat. After that you can do some jumping jacks, arms circles, leg swings or some other stuff you’ve learned on your physical education lessons and then apply some light stretching preferably for the muscle groups you will be training that day.
2. Warm-up with weights
Second part of the warm-up will be performed with the equipment that you are going to train certain muscle group with. Its goal is to increase the blood flow inside the muscles, joints and tendons and heat them up. It stretches trained muscle group and prepares nervous system for the heavier lifts by going through the motion of the movement with a lighter weight.
So let’s say you want to train your chest muscles, go to the place you are going to perform first exercise then. If it’s a bench press go to the bench press and perform few repetitions (10-30) with an empty barbell – go through the full range of motion and stretch your pecs with it.
After that do 2 warming-up sets with a light weight of around 15-12 repetitions. First set can be 15 and second 12 reps. Choose weight that should allow you to lift it more times than that. It could be around 50% of the load you’ll be training with but don’t be so precise with that. Now you are ready to work out.
You don’t need to do any more warming-up sets before second or third exercise of the same muscle group however if you train another body part after, like biceps, you have to perform again 1 or 2 high repetition sets with a light weight to heat up your guns.
Additional information and exceptions
If you are just starting bodybuilding and therefore training with very light loads, there’s no need for you to do any warm-up sets with weights. Your working sets will be your warming-up sets.
Everybody has to do general warm-up though. Take more time for that if the gym is cold inside or if you train fasted or early in a morning.
The older we are the more time we have to sacrifice to heat up. Because we are more experienced and therefore able to train with heavier weight, it’s easier to get an injury. Besides our body is getting older and some tissues might be not as strong or flexible as younger athletes.
Anyway don’t start to train until you break a sweat and feel that your muscles are ready for the workout. Don’t exercise too hard either. Warm-up meant to heat you up not kill you. If you waste too much energy during it you’ll not be able to perform at your best.
Never ever skip a warm-up. It’s essential part of any type of sport. Without it our body is cold and won’t train on its full capacity. Besides you can pull a muscle or get different injury which will put you off from training completely. Proper warm-up will definitely increase your performance what means you’ll be able to lift heavier weight, train longer with a high intensity and perform better during fight, match or any other competition. It will also make you feel more confident in a weight room or during performance.