The goal of any warmup is to introduce the aerobic and musculoskeletal systems to the workload ahead. This is done by completing exercises that increase heart rate, body temperature, joint mobility, and muscle activation and elasticity. Warmups that include both cardio moves to increase heart rate and body temperature, and strength moves to increase muscle activation and elasticity, are important to get your mind and muscles ready to work and help prevent injury.
By increasing heart rate and body temperature, oxygen becomes more readily available to your muscles, allowing them to contract and relax more easily. As you loosen the muscles and tissues around your joints, range of motion increases. Better range of motion, especially in strength moves, will give you a more effective workout and help protect you from injury. Working the joints and muscles through their full range equates to a higher quality and a more productive workout. If you can get into a deeper squat or lower lunge during your workout, you will be able to maximize the effectiveness with increased muscle recruitment.
Another goal of a warm-up is to increase the elasticity of the muscles and tendons to prevent any acute strains or sprains of the soft tissue. A proper warm-up with strength moves such as inch worms, squats and pushups like this week’s Track of the Week “Perfect Gentlemen” creates more pliability within the muscles as they lengthen and shorten many times throughout movement. The inchworm to push up move, lengthens and contracts the hamstrings, chest, and core muscles with light bodyweight resistance, getting us nice and warm, so we are ready for challenging weight tracks and explosive squat jumps later in the class. Without going through a proper dynamic warm-up, you predispose your muscles to the possibility of tears and strain.