How many posts can we write about the right way to warm up? Well, since you guys keep asking for more warm-up tips week after week, I guess the answer is we’ll keep writing ’em!
It’s only the 1000m of your 10km workout and you can feel it already: It’s going to be a hard day. Sounds familiar?
The chances are the culprit here is your warm-up gone wrong, or maybe you skipped it altogether. When you’re properly warmed up, even starting too fast (which is another common mistake) isn’t that big of a problem. After warming up, you’ll be able to tolerate discomfort better.
When we skip the warm-up, the line of thinking behind it is typically: “I don’t have time for anything extra so I’ll warm up as I go. I don’t want to wear myself out.”
While it’s true that you shouldn’t wear yourself out before a race or an intense training session, skipping your warm-up isn’t the way to go about it.
The solution is doing a smart warm-up – one that suits you and only you, no one else.
Here are the Dark Horse 3 step guide to getting warmed up properly and ensuring you are ready for any workout.
STEP 1: START GENTLY AND BUILD GRADUALLY – 5-10 MINUTES
First, you’ll want to wake up your body gently. Start with light exertion and gradually increase to moderate, letting your heart rate rise slowly and gradually. Our 10 min build is a perfect example of exactly this you should be warm but not out of breath and should have worked through all the stroke rates to ensure you are comfortable maintaining consistency at whatever desired rate. You can do this with some other discipline, too, such as cycling, just as long as you’re familiar with the sport.
At this point, the idea is to get your blood flowing and your aerobic engine humming – but you should also have avoided steep rises in heart rate.
STEP 2: MOBILIzE THOSE JOINTS – 5-10 MINUTES.
Now you’re ready for some mobility, and from here on you should stick to mobility drills that are going to give you the biggest return on investment when moving into your row session.
Most likely you know which stretches and moves are the best ones for you. Importantly to rowing target your hip flexors, quads, glutes and lower back, and remember to activate your pelvis and core as well. The aim is to get your muscles, joints and tendons working at their full range of motion and reduce the risk of injury.
For instance, a great series of drills to incorporate would be; balance leg lunges, back extensions, clams and kossack squats for repetitions of 15-20 each side. Then stop, take on some pre workout fluids, and aim to repeat these two or three more times.
STEP 3: BUILD HEART RATE UP TO WORKOUT LEVEL – 5-10 MINUTES
It’s time to get ready for that main session so now is the time to focus on your breathing and getting that heart rate up to almost performance levels.
If you’re an experienced athlete, you can do a couple of intervals to bring your heart rate up. These could be 3-5 minutes long (depending on the session you have to complete). For newbies, it’s a good idea to be careful. Make sure you do get your heart rate close or to the figures you’re expecting to hit at the very start of the actual performance, but don’t overdo it.
Concentrate on how you’re feeling and lighten your effort if you get too carried away. Do one to three sets that last 2-3 minutes and build your heart rate up towards the end of each set to the level it’ll need during your workout.
So, here we are! That’s it. Your engine is purring steadily and you should feel pumped up, eager and ready to rock n’ roll!
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER.
The idea is to keep up the warmth in your muscles and not let any stiffness set in. minimising the time between warm up and main workout is always the key to getting the most from your workout. Avoid procrastination, get your music/damper setting/and anything else set before you commence with your workout. Remember layers are also a good way of retaining that muscle warmth and are easy to remove once you’re ready to go. A smart warm-up is the cherry on top of the cake, it just takes time to perfect but once you do its that low hanging fruit you’ll thank yourself for investing the time in.
Any tips or tricks you find to help warm up? Let us know in the comments or drop us a message on any of the social media sites.
Yours in fitness, education and warming things up.
Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash
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