Best Warm Up Exercises

Most of us when we get to the gym, have a general idea as to what we’re going to do. Whether it’s leg day, upper body or push/pull. 

However, when it comes to warming up, it can be a bit less clear. 

Many people opt for the quick sprint on the treadmill option – at least then you’re warm – right? 

Either that or the cardio session comes first, leaving you warm but with less energy in your muscles to be able to lift weights. 

It’s definitely a tricky one but there is a middle ground.  

Firstly, let’s look at why we need to warm up.   

Why do we warm up? 

There are lots of benefits to warming up. These include: 

fitness expert using mirafit barbell and bumper plates
  • Raising your heart rate – this will increase the blood flow to your muscles. This helps to make the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles more readily available so that they are able to work to their full potential. 
  • Raising your core body temperature – this is about warming up your muscles – quite literally – so that they're more pliable. Once you are physically warm, you're able to move onto doing some dynamic stretches which will help further prepare your body. 
  • Improve your range of motion – dynamic stretches are designed to improve your range of motion without stressing your body. And even though they're called stretches, you're not looking to increase your flexibility. It's the next step in preparing your body for the physical stress of your workout. Dynamic stretches are quick, repetitive movements such as lunges with an upper body twist, forward leg swings with a toe touch or knee to chest grabs. 
  • Dilating your blood vessels – this will just help you work out more easily as your heart is able to pump your blood round your body more easily. 
  • Starting to sweat – warming up should involve working up a sweat. This means your body is ready to cool down when you start to get too hot. 
  • Ease yourself in – sharp, sudden movements or doing anything that might shock your body could open you up to injury. Even though you're always looking to mix things up, it's really important to make sure your body is in the right state to be worked hard first. That's regardless of whether you're about to squat, deadlift or perform a crushing session of supersets. 
  • Getting ready to burn energy – when you start warming up, specific hormones are secreted. These help to provide your body with additional carbohydrates and fatty acids. They're vital for helping you to optimise your workout. 

It's important to warm up no matter what exercises you're doing at the gym. And warming up before lifting heavy is especially important. 

Compound exercises involve a lot of different muscle groups. So, it's important to have warmed up your whole body before you start adding weights. 

Squats and deadlifts require a good amount of flexibility. Squatting without warming up first could put you at risk of injury, as well as shorten your squat trajectory. 

Compound exercises can put a lot of pressure on your joints. Warming up is a good way of preparing your hips, knees and wrists to take the strain. 

Warming up is a great way of 'testing' your body to check you haven't developed any niggles or injuries.  

How to warm up 

One of the best ways to warm up is by using resistance bands. They challenge your muscles without the added strain of having to pick up a weight. 

They also stop you from using momentum to squeeze out the last few reps which can sometimes strain your muscles.  

Below, Danielle from MSP Fitness takes us through a warm up mobility routine using our resistance bands. 

This is a great workout for anyone preparing to do heavy lifting and gets your muscles warm without using up all your energy. 

Warm up for runners 

Dynamic stretches are also a great way to warm up, especially if you’re preparing for a long run. 

Note that these are movement based and are about preparing your body for exercise – not increasing your flexibility. And in fact, if you try to hold deeper stretches while cool, this can injure you. Even more reason to warm up! 

Common dynamic stretches include: 

  • knees to chest 
  • forward leg swings with toe touch 
  • butt kicks on the spot 
  • lunges with upper body twist 
  • hip and shoulder rotations 
  • calf raises  

Repeat each of these for a minute or so. Once you feel even warmer, you might want to finish off with a few burpees, tuck jumps, squat jumps and sprints. 

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, send us a message on Instagram. You can find us @MirafitOfficial