If you want to get the most out of your workout and not injure yourself, it is important to warm-up before exercising. Part of a healthy warm-up is light exercise before getting up to full speed, but it also means doing some stretches. There are many different ways to stretch out, all of which have several different benefits to them.
Warm-Up Before Every Workout
Even though a lot of people don’t stretch before they workout because they assume they don’t really need to for that exercise, it is just as important to lift before weight lifting as it is to lift before cardio exercises. People who do cardio exercises often assume that they do not need to focus on any upper body muscle groups, and only the lower body. But especially for certain cardio activities, that can be false. Even for running, there is movement of your arms, and even muscles you don’t use during your exercise still help get your heart rate up and get your blood pumping. Point being, don’t think that certain exercises are immune from needing stretches beforehand. Everyone will perform better after doing proper warm-ups.
There are a few different lower body exercises for each different muscle group that you can do. And it is best to do a couple for each muscle group, because even if two stretches target the same main muscle, the supporting muscles that each target are likely to be different. For example, if you are looking to stretch your thighs, one muscle might target the thighs, calves, and glutes to some extent, while another might get the calves, but work the hips as well because of the need to balance during it. It also ensures one area is not overextended, because each muscle relies on supporting muscles to make it work properly. If you hurt your supporting muscles and have to use improper form to avoid pain, your muscles will develop poorly, or you can begin to experience long term issues related to the injury.
Different Types of Warm-Ups
Some basic workouts for your calves can also help stretch out your shins, which is a common problem spot, while others will workout your legs. Some of these will only require a flat surface, while other workouts would require a ledge or something sturdy to stand on. One of the most basic stances is the forward bend, where you extend your left foot forward and bend to form a 45 to 60 degree angle, while you extend your right foot backwards while planting it firmly on the ground. This will stretch your thighs and your glutes slightly, while, if done properly, also really stretching out your calves on your back foot. Make sure both of your feet are facing straightforward.
Still have questions about the best warm-up practices to perform for an effective workout? Visit STR8 Training, a San Marcos fitness gym, for advice from one of our professional trainers.