Warm-up is one of the most important components of any workout.
It warms up your muscles, ligaments and joints, reduces the risk of injuries and, in general, prepares your body for further exercise.
There are two types of warm-up: immediately before a particular exercise and, a general warm-up before your workout.
The first type is an easy version of the exercise you are going to do (for example, squats with an empty bar or without it, or a short jog before a marathon).
The second type involves a short series of stretching exercises to prepare your body for further workout.
A warm-up should be short. 5-10 minutes are enough to warm up your muscles, joints and ligaments.
In the beginning you should understand what type of a warm-up you need at that moment.
If you are going to do aerobic workout (e. g. a cardio session), you should do some similar exercises but in an easy mode.
If you plan to run a long distance, the best warm-up will be a series of warm-up exercises for your joints (firstly, the legs) followed by 5-10 minutes of jogging.
Warm-up for the joints (rotating motions in main joints, clockwise and backwards, inclines, arm and leg swings, stretching of the front and rear side of the thighs, the calves and ankles) should start from top to bottom.
This means that, firstly, you warm up your neck, shoulders, arms and wrists, back and then hips, knees and ankles. By the end the lower part of your body will be ready to perform the next exercises and further workout.
There are many variations of stretching exercises which you can do.
For example, to stretch the front side of the thigh you should stand up straight, bend one knee and hold your ankle from the back with the same arm.
The biggest mistake is simply ignoring your warm-up. Cold muscles and joints are at high risk of injury. You won't be able to reach your best results in your exercises without a proper warm-up.
Your warm-up should match the goals of your further workout. If you want to run a long distance, you should spend 5-10 minutes jogging.
But if, afterwards you plan to do squats and bench press, there is no point in getting on the running machine as it won't have any effect on your upcoming power workout.
Moreover, if you run too intensively, you won't have the energy to perform other exercises. It is better to choose light stretching exercises.
It is recommended that you finish your warm-up with the muscle group which will be involved in the workout after the warm-up.
While warming up, never make sudden movements. It’s a bad idea to jump or lift an empty bar hoping to finish your warm-up quickly and get on with your workout with heavy weights. The risk of getting injury at the start is too high!