Why we bother to warm up

We’ve all been there. We have 30 minutes before the kids get home and we need to get in a run. Maybe we throw our leg up on a park bench to stretch the hamstrings and maybe we do nothing at all. I’d like to discuss why it’s important to take the time to warm up properly.

The importance of warm up exercises can be compared to driving your car in freezing cold weather. It is generally best to allow your car to warm up a bit before revving it up to high speeds. The same principle applies when you work out. You want to physically prepare your body for the demands of a strenuous workout by gradually increasing your body temperature. A good warm up will gradually increase your heart rate, increase circulation to your muscles, tendons and ligaments, and mentally prepare you for your workout.

It can be problematic when people confuse warming up with stretching. One example is when a person jumps right into stretching without first raising his body temperature through an initial period of walking, running in place or easy pedaling on a bike. This can cause injury because your muscles need warmth to achieve optimal stretch.

A proper warm up involves moving your joints repetitively within your full range of motion. This is called dynamic movement or dynamic stretching. A study performed at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan showed that subjects who performed dynamic stretching had a significantly higher strength output in the leg extension exercise than the group that did static stretching, which is stretching a muscle to a point of mild tension for 15 to 30 seconds without otherwise moving the body. Researchers at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur found that soccer players who performed dynamic stretching performed better at the in-step kick than those who performed static stretching or no stretching. They concluded that dynamic stretching can increase the chances of scoring and reduce the risks of hip injuries.

How Modus 45 is doing it right:
Modus has incorporated the latest research and developed a safe yet extremely effective warm up. The Modus warm up consists of a series of bridges.  From a physical therapy standpoint, the bridge is one of the best exercises out there. It strengthens the gluts, hamstrings, quads, ankle muscles and core as well as stretches the hip flexors and challenges balance.  All while the spine from the neck to low back is in a neutral and stable position, lowering the risk injury.  The initial movements are small, just enough to wake the muscles up. Then the movements gradually get bigger and bigger until you are taking the hip through a full range of motion. We’ve all snickered when we hear, “Second to last thing for this warm up.” We snicker because our legs are on fire and the sweat beads are already forming after only 7 minutes into the work out. But after warming up, our minds and our bodies are prepared for what’s to come.