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When you decide on your new gym program, you’re eager to get started. All guns blazing, you walk into the gym, ready to hit your first exercise with a vengeance. But you’ve missed one thing – your warm up.

Warming Up – The Dont’s

Everyone knows the importance of a warm up – it helps get your blood flowing, warms up your muscles and joints and above all helps to prevent injury.

Not only that though, but the time you spend warming up is a great opportunity to get yourself mentally prepared for the session that lies ahead of you. It’s a chance to run through any last details you need to go over, lets you picture how the workout’s going to happen, and get yourself psyched up.

The trouble is though, too many people simply see warming up as a waste of time. Even those who do take the time and are diligent enough to go through a warm up routine usually do it half heartedly, and even more do it completely wrong.

Warming up isn't a simple case of plodding away on the treadmill while you wait for your workout partner to turn up, or sitting on a yoga mat running through a few stretches. Not only are you wasting your time doing these, you could be doing more harm than good.

In fact, that’s the perfect place to start – let’s talk about what not to do in your warm up.


Yep – what you've been hearing all these years is wrong – cardio is not the best way to warm up.

There’s nothing inherently bad about doing cardio, it’s just a waste of time. Getting your heart rate up and increasing the synovial fluid around your joints, to help lubricate them, is all well and good, but this can be done without cardio.

Doing cardio before your weight training can be detrimental. You’ll sap your energy stores, increase your risk of fatigue and injury, and won’t get the benefits of the favorable changes in blood pH and hormones, as well as the increased afterburn effect that come from lifting weights first.

Lesson – save the cardio until the end of your workout.

Static Stretching

Yep, that’s common myth number two busted.

While your gym probably has posters adorning every wall, advising you on what stretches to do for what body parts before you start your workout, stretching will actually inhibit performance.

By stretching and lengthening your muscles, your strength can decrease. Plus, most people go through a very simplistic total body stretch session, when there may well be some muscle groups that don’t need stretching at all. A prime example of this is the upper-back.

You might currently stretch your upper back by reaching out in front of you like you’re hugging an imaginary tree as part of your warm up. While there’s nothing wrong with this stretch, 

99% of people (particularly office workers) have very weak, loose lower backs, due to long periods of sitting slumped over a computer keyboard, so upper back stretches are completely useless and could be worsening your posture problems.

Day Dream

This is warm up crime number three.

Your warm up should be a time to focus, plan what you’re going to do in your workout and prepare for the challenges and hard work that face you in the coming hour or so.

Let it Eat Into Your Workout Time

In a second we’ll run through what to do it a warm up, which should only take you five to 10 minutes at most. It can be tempting to elongate your warm up to get an easy ride, however. If you only have an hour to spare in the gym, you should get a good, solid 50 minutes to work your butt off in, following your warm up.

If you’re not in the mood for training, taking ages with your warm up is a great way to slack off and reduce your sweat time. Don’t be a workout-avoider – keep your warm ups brief and to the point.

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