For the past couple of years, I have woken up early in the morning, hopped in the car, driven to the gym and have immediately started my exercise routine. However, about a year ago I was doing some squats and all of a sudden felt an unpleasant sensation in my lower back, which turned out to be a strain.
In researching what to do for the lower back strain, I learned:
Safe to say that I learned my lesson and am doing all of the above now, including warm ups.
Performing a warm-up and stretching routine is a vital component of overall good health and fitness, and is strongly recommended before and after each and every strenuous weight training workout (or any other exercise routine for that matter).
In general, warming up will elevate the heart rate and increase the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, thus preparing the body to be stretched. Stretching then prepares the soft tissue and joint of the body to safely perform a physical activity. It is important to remember that a warm-up routine is not the same as a stretching routine.
The pre-workout phase of your weight training routine can be broken down into two primary phases: a general warm-up phase and a stretching phase. You should perform your warm-up routine first, followed by your stretching routine.
Benefits of Warm Ups
How to Warm Up
So now that we know that warming up is important and beneficial, how do you actually do a proper warm up? You can do your own search for warm up routines on the web and in books, but here are a few good basic warm ups to get you started:
Quick and Dirty Tips for Warming Up
Fitknitchick's Warm Up
Would I have strained my back if I had properly warmed up? Let's put it this way, it's hard on a car in the middle of Winter to start driving immediately without letting it warm up. It's also hard on your body to start working out immediately without a warm up. Since I've begun to include 5-10 minutes of warm ups in my routine, I feel like my overall workout goes smoother and I feel better overall. Don't take a chance, take proper care of your body.