You could have the best training program in the world, but if you don’t warm up and cool down properly, the program will be only minimally effective. I would know. I pay my coach $300 per month to give me a custom training plan, and say little, if any results over the course of a year, because I did not warm up or cool down properly and injured myself. It wasn’t a crazy tear or anything like that. It was the far more common, putting continued stress on weak areas of my body, that were not ready to take on that stress because they were not warmed up, then by neglecting a cool down, these areas would not recover optimally.
Another year later, and I have finally gotten myself back to full strength (and hit some new personal bests!) and the biggest contributor, is warming up and cooling down.
When you are looking to warm up effectively, you need to look at the workout you are doing that day. At 286, we break it into a general warm up and a specific warm up. The general warm up is aimed at getting the body warm. The movements are not as important, with the emphasis being more on getting the heart rate up and starting to get sweaty. This lets our bodies know that need to begin priming to workout. The next part of the warmup is specific. If we are squatting that day, we need to warm up the ankle, knees, hips, and core to support that lifting. In his portion, we focus on moving through full ranges of motion with good quality. This lets the brain know that it can handle the task it will be asked to complete. We avoid stretching in the warmup as stretching can send us into a calming, recovery state, which is the opposite of what we need at the start of a workout. All and all, this takes 10-15 minutes.
Once we have finished the workout, it’s not over yet. We workout in order to create an opportunity for our bodies to recover. While our bodies recover, they repair themselves and adapt themselves to make us fitter. We don’t get fitter in the middle of a workout, but in the time recovering after the workout. Because of this fact, we need to get into a recovery state as quickly as we can. Foam rolling and stretching both do a great job at getting this effect. Add in some deep nose breathing, and your nervous system will be ready to recover in no time. Spend about 10-15 minutes on this and you will feel the benefits as they happen!
Don’t neglect a warmup and cool down. I did and I hurt myself. If you want to train for life and stay healthy for the long term. You need to add these into your plan. If you would rather have someone else come up with that stuff for you, let us know and we will be happy to help you out!