We've all heard the drift: "Don't skip warm-ups."
Trainers say it, physiotherapists say it, and we know it deep down. Warm-ups are an essential part of our fitness routine.
A dynamic warm-up increases your blood circulation and prepares your joints and muscles for more strenuous physical activities that are to come. When you warm up before any exercise, you help to prevent any muscle pulls, tears, or other injuries. You also perform better due to the improved range of motion.
"Stretching contributes to muscle tissue health, which plays a big role in a person's mobility somewhere down their workout and training journey" - Kirstie Gannaway, FaMA Fit coach
Read more about how to improve your flexibility in this article.
So knowing its importance is one thing. However, do we prioritise, or take it seriously? Admittedly, not as much as we should. Whether it is showing up late for a session, rushing through a warm-up, or skipping reps to' conserve energy', we are guilty of slacking off during warm-ups from time to time!
If sports professionals highly advocate warm-ups, why do we still not take them seriously?
Perhaps, this added insight will change your mind.
Warm-Ups Do Not Just Prepare You Physically but Also Mentally
Have you ever gone through a training session feeling like your mind is in a funk? Somehow, techniques do not click, and your brain seems to move slowly. The class moves into a few rounds of sparring sessions, and you find yourself making silly mistakes. You know you could have performed better, but you are just not "there".
Being in a weak headspace can be attributed to a lot of things, such as stress from other parts of life, or exhaustion from lack of rest. However, another reason for it could be due to the lack of mental preparation.
The best way to manage your mental preparation is by committing to warm-ups!
Do quick research, and you will discover many sports authorities agreeing that warm-ups are essential to help athletes get "in the zone". Even simple movements such as jogging and calisthenics (push-ups and sit-ups) help to improve concentration.
Finally, a warm-up prepares us for 'discomfort'. Based on an article by active.com, "If the mind is ready to endure discomfort, the body can produce higher speeds. If the mind is unwilling to endure discomfort, physical performance will certainly be limited."
Sure, burpees or jogging may not seem like relatable movement exercises that prepare you for your workout. The thought of them is downright unpleasant! However, why not embrace the discomfort? Going through it is, in fact, helping you to prepare for what is to come ahead.
Suffering From Injuries or Chronic Joint and Muscle Pains?
"I hear lots of people saying, "I'm skipping the warm-up because I'm injured", when they are the very people who need a good, long warm-up. You should be perspiring and feel loose after the warm-up, not cold and stiff." - Conor McHugh, Physiotherapist, and FaMA BJJ Blue Belt.
He gives a professional perspective on how to train smart in this article.
If an injury or ailment does not allow you to get into group warm-ups with the rest of the class, do not fret. However, do not sit out completely, either! Let your instructor know what the issue is so that he can advise on alternative movements to help you get warm and prepared along with the rest of the class.
It's All in the Mind
Now that you know the impact of mental preparation on your training, we hope that this motivates you to be more intentional about your warm-up routine! Do not be in haste to fly through warm-ups so that you can get to the 'main event'. Let warm-ups be an enjoyable process where you prepare your body and mind to learn, absorb, and perform to your fullest potential for that day. You will thank yourself for it later.
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts academy located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from Clarke Quay and Fort Canning MRT stations, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai Kickboxing, Kids Martial Arts and Fitness programs are led by experts in their respective fields. So, whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for the whole family.