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Strength Training Warm Up

From eDiets - working with Howtobefit.com to improve your health and fitness

Do you come to the gym, skip the warm-up and go directly to your weight program? If you do, you're skipping what may be the most beneficial and crucial part of your workout.

Generally speaking, guys, it’s you we’re talking to! It’s not "macho" to do a warm-up. You know what you're doing, and you don’t need a warm-up. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Why do a warm-up? When you're inactive, (and I don’t care how many errands or chores you do), you aren't warmed up.

Your blood is generally pooled at the center, or core, of your body when you aren't performing an activity. The purpose of the warm-up is to signal the body that you're going to perform an activity and to pump the oxygen-carrying blood to the working muscles of the arms and legs.

If you like to lift weights, you need the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood just as much as if you were in an aerobics class. Not only does the blood carry needed oxygen to your working muscles, it also helps transport the waste products, lactic acid build up and carbon dioxide away from those muscles.

So, you didn’t do a warm-up... You came to the gym, and being tough (and a guy), you went right to weight lifting. You already know you need to get the muscles to fatigue to see benefit. After all, no pain, no gain, right?

You do your reps and start to fatigue and get a burn, so you put the weights down and think, "I’m doing well." Not really.

Without the warm-up, your muscles are lacking the fuels they need to effectively perform the exercises and reach fatigue. Both lactic acid and carbon dioxide are not as effectively being transported away from the fatiguing muscles. So, did you efficiently allow the muscles to reach their maximum capabilities and perform the number of reps they really could do? Probably not!

Add the warm-up, but not too fast. If you perform a warm-up too quickly, your heart rate will rise rapidly in an effort to supply the working muscles with oxygen. You’ll reach your aerobic-anaerobic threshold far too quickly, and the effect will be almost as though you skipped a warm-up entirely.

Do it right! Take the 5 to 10 minutes to do a warm-up -- moving gradually at first and building up the pace as you near the end of the warm-up. Now, you’re ready for your workout, and more importantly, your muscles and fuel systems will perform nearer to their peak. You’ll also find you achieve better overall results from your strength program.

The cool down is equally important. It helps relieve the strain placed on your cardiovascular systems when you abruptly quit an exercise program. Take as much time as you did for your warm-up to perform your cool down. It’ll do your body a world of good.

With six years in the fitness industry, Jeff Dirgo is Fitness Director with Lifestyle Dynamics LLC, his own education, training, and consulting business in New Jersey. Jeff is reaching out to assist other fitness professionals. He holds numerous certifications including the Master Fitness Specialist and Health Promotion Director certifications from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, and is certified by the American Council on Exercise, and the American Academy of Health and Post Rehab Fitness Professionals.

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