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The Most Important Part of a Workout

How to progress faster and stay injury-free with warmups.

Six weeks into the new year and your strength is through the roof, and you’re starting to notice more muscle on your frame. But what's the secret to keeping it going? A warm up. Although it's often neglected, the warm up is a quick and easy safeguard from any injury. The perfect warmup has five elements that are essential to maximize the benefits from the workout:

MOBILITY

Dynamic mobility is the body’s ability to move in multiple directions safely. Think of “mobility” as a combination between flexibility and strength. Dynamic mobility gently increases your range of motion, thus preventing injury.

MOVEMENT-PREP

Think of this like turning on your car before heading out for a drive. You need to turn on the parts of your brain that control the motions you’ll be doing in your workout. Why warm up with squats if you’re bench-pressing? Doing some pushups is a better alternative, plus they'll give you a little volume to stimulate muscle growth as well as strength increase.

PLIABILITY

Warmups increase blood flow, raise core temperature, and improve the pliability of muscles. The more pliable the muscle, the less likely for strain.

AWARENESS

Running through a warmup allows the body to adapt to specific movement patterns and minimize muscular imbalances.

JOINT INTEGRITY

In order to keep the joints healthy, your muscles need to be reminded that the ligaments and tendons they work with are elastic, and they won’t tear as long as form is good and the weight is appropriately heavy (or light) for the exercise being performed.

THE PERFECT WARMUP

Perform all moves in succession without resting in between.

1. Foam Roll: 2-3 minutes, focus on hamstrings, lats, and mid/lower back

2. Overhead Squat: 1 set, 10 reps

3. Jump Rope: 1 minute

4. Pushup: 1 set, 15 reps

5. Chinup: 1 set, 5 reps

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