My Top Three Reasons For Warming Up And Cooling Down Sufficiently
We have all heard that excuse ‘I haven’t got the time to stretch’, and yes I've even used it myself before only to regret it for months later having to nurse injuries as a result.
Here my top 3 reasons to make sure you have sufficient warm-up and cool downtime in your workout sessions, and trust me, these are just as important as your actual working sets.
- Warm up the Central nervous system and motor units – this is one of the biggest ones I tell my clients, if you get a sufficient warm-up in place and gradually increase the weight, your body will perform so much better. The nervous system will be able to recruit things called ‘motor units’ which are basically (if we use a car engine for an example )‘cylinders’ so we gradually recruit more units and become more functional when we are in essence ‘firing on all cylinders. I guarantee if you went to sprint straight out of bed your motor units wouldn’t be working properly, your coordination wouldn’t be there, you would walk into things, kick the bed and hurt yourself. It is the same in the gym, your muscles and motor units need to warm up, it's vital!
- Less injuries – as you warm up more blood is flowing is around the body and this in turn means more nutrient delivery to the tendons and muscles, more elasticity and more performance. If you just go straight in with your 1 rep max, your body is calling out for pain, it won’t be as strong, won’t have the blood flow and will more than likely just mean that you injure yourself in the process.
- Whether you are working the cardiovascular system or the muscles for hypertrophy, warming up efficiently will mean more nutrients are delivered to the required areas. This is going to be essential in aiding your recovery from the session and mean more progress in your performance.
- The most important thing is the cool down process sets the body up for recovery and growth, when I say growth I don’t just mean in muscles I mean in fitness too. Adding an effective cool down will help the body set it self up for the rest of the day and flick that switch we have inside us to say ‘we are done pushing, now grow!’ After all, growth doesn’t actually happen IN the gym.
- Flexibility increases – again I touched on this in the warm up but when you are training with weights for example you are breaking the muscles down, these muscles need to repair and you don’t want to seize up meaning there isn’t much space due to lower range of movement and flexibility in the muscles, if they aren’t flexible they can’t grow effectively. It will also mean your injury proneness is decreased too due to the increased flexibility in the muscles.
- Stop the dizziness – This is pretty much hardly spoken about in cool downs, but so many people I have worked with during a hard leg session or sprint efforts on the track for example have sat down and then returned to standing after a couple minutes and gone so light headed they then get a headache. Cooling down efficiently will allow your body to return the blood that it has pooled into the legs for these sessions and then get it all around the body where it will have nutrients delivered and oxygenate the rest of your system meaning no more light headedness. Always handy!
You must always make sure your body is primed nutritionally both to get ready for your session and to recover, in doing this myself, personally I use Dynamo Pre Workout and then follow my session with Dynapro Recovery, enter PDOJAY for 10% discount to try these products at www.proteindynamix.com.