Warming up –
A proper warm-up is very important to working out. First, it will get the muscles ready to be stretched safely. Imagine that you took a rubber band and placed it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Most of the time if you attempted to stretch it, it would snap. If a rubber band is warmed up above room temperature it increases in elasticity.(To a certain degree) Stretching cold muscles is a great way to pull or even tear tissue. The second reason is that warming up primes the muscles to fire by increasing blood flow to the area in addition to awareness of the region (termed neuromuscular efficiency).
A 5-10 minute walk at a brisk pace should be sufficient to warm up the body. Some like to jump rope, use the elliptical, or more recently the rowing machine. Any of these are good options; the idea is just to get the body moving and blood pumping.
I usually follow my warm-up with foam rolling and trigger point (two types of self myofascial release) as these assist and work well with the warm-up and prep for static stretching. After my warm-up, and SMR I use static stretching for the muscles that are particularly shortened.
The next post will discuss how to determine which muscles need attention.
As always, if there are any questions or feedback don’t be shy.