To most, warming up and stretching is simply a chore and something which is short lived, due to inpatients and a lack of understanding. This can lead to a number of problems such as injuries and lack of training intensity. Discover why this happens and why you should be looking to add sufficient warm up periods to your training in order to boost progress.
What warming up sufficiently does is increase blood flow into the targeted muscle area, elevate your heart rate and stretch the muscles which are about to be punished. An increased heart rate obviously equals increased blood flow to the muscles which means the muscles are better protected and have an increased flow of oxygen. Stretching the muscles will increase the elasticity which ultimately means there is far less chance of them getting damaged. Increased levels of elasticity also increase the strength and power around the joint which is working. Further benefits to warming up include faster recovery time, less stiffness post workout and healthier joints. All of these positive side effects to warming up correctly ultimately prolong your ability to train harder as well as your long term health.
When it comes to warming up as a bodybuilder the key is to keep it relevant. It is incredible how many bodybuilders will stretch their shoulder joints before they squat. What on earth is the benefit to this? It is a different ball game when you’re training your upper body as all of the muscles work very closely, which also includes the joints. So it is essential to warm up all of the joints in your upper body before embarking on a crazy upper body session. This means that if your training arms be sure to warm the rotor cuffs in your shoulders up with some very light dumbbell movements. Following sufficient warm up movements for various joints, you should then move on to your first exercise. Be sure to use the first 3 sets as warm up sets, starting with around 20 reps to get the specific joints and muscles in the grove and full of blood. The next 2 sets should be around 15 reps as this makes your training progressive, readying your muscles for the heavy working sets just around the corner. None of your warm up sets should be to failure; this is just to get blood into the area, not to stimulate muscle growth!
As a short example your warm up session should follow 2 simple steps. Use very light dumbbells to warm up the various joints which will be directly affected by your heavy workout. This again should take you at least 5 minutes, stretching in between these super light sets to really maximize blood flow and elasticity. By performing this warm up sets quickly this will elevate your heart rate simultaneously! Finally, your first 3 sets of the first exercise need to be light, purely focusing on increasing blood flow to the targeted area and preparing your muscles.
There is a brief insight for you, allowing to understand exactly why warming up is absolutely essential to gaining as a bodybuilder, not to mention avoiding injury. Remember, an athlete who is injured is an athlete in trouble.