freequently asked questions about warming up for exercise

Warm Up FAQ

How long should I warm up for?

For most people, 10-15  minutes is good. Less than 10 minutes and you’re probably rushing through it, much longer and you’re probably daydreaming!

Should I use dynamic or static stretching in the warm up?

Make your warm up as dynamic as possible, stay on the move… Static stretching is generally used for developing flexibility, so, unless you have a specific reason to statically stretch at the start of a session, save it for the cool down.

If I’m just doing cardio on the bike machine or going for a run, do I still need to warm up?

Yes… Full depth bodyweight squats, skipping, reverse lunges, spiders, planks, torso rotations and broomstick pass throughs are a good start, because…

Jogging and cycling move your joints through short ranges of motion and require the same muscles to contract in the same way for long periods of time. Warming up thoroughly (by moving the whole body through full ranges of motion) gives you the chance to work on mobility and offset potential overuse issues.

I only have three minutes warm up before 5-a-side football, what should I do?

Show up earlier? Failing that, get yourself moving by doing something like 30 seconds of:

  • Light forward and backwards running with sidesteps and changes of direction
  • Bodyweight squats and leg swings (like a soccer kick)
  • Shoulder swings (whilst running), torso rotations and hip circles
  • Passing, dribbling and shooting the soccer ball with gradually increasing intensity

Doing the above will get you about as warmed up as you can be in three minutes. If you’re interested in football fitness, check out soccer strength and conditioning.

If I just want to get a sweet swell on my Chest and Biceps do I even need to warm up bro?

Hi Brucey, thanks for the question. Yes you do need to warm up bro.

Should I foam roll during the warm up?

Yes, no, maybe, it depends…

Yes

If you have:

  • Really tight muscles that need to be loosened before starting exercise
  • Postural issues, perhaps from spending a lot of time hunched over a computer screen
  • Are returning from an injury and need to loosen up the muscles around a joint

In the scenarios above, three or four minutes of foam rolling can help to get rid of cricks and cracks that have accumulated. Getting rid of cricks and cracks at the start of a session will free up range of motion, help chip away at postural issues caused by tight muscles and allow for better performance during your session.

No

In the warm up we want to be getting things switched on and fired up, not relaxed and sleepy. Foam rolling relaxes muscle tissues… So, if you have no specific reason to foam roll before your session, then save foam rolling for the end of the session.

Can you give me an example of a good warm up?

Sure, here is a 15 minute whole body warm up that could be used whether you’re about to go for a run, lift weights or Scottish country dance. Take 15 minutes to go through the following:

  1. 2-4 mins of general movement such as rowing, skipping, running, jumping jacks
  2. Bodyweight squats, spiders, reverse lunges, broomstick pass throughs, press ups
  3. Mobility movements such as spider shape + thoracic rotation
  4. Core activation exercises such as planks, side planks etc.
  5. Light strength exercises such as inverted rows, light deadlifts and squat to press
  6. Hey presto, let’s go to the Scottish country disco. (The disco is the main part of the session.)

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