Why (and How) do we warm up before exercise?

At KORE, we have a fairly unique warm-up routine, with exercises that take the body through a very wide variety of movements.  It is not unusual for some people starting an exercise program to experience some soreness after their first time doing our warm-up.  The biggest reason that we have a mandatory dynamic warm-up at our facility is to prime the body for movement.  

As our world becomes more and more modernized, most of the movement related tasks once required have been eliminated which means that we spend most of our day moving from one seated position to another.  This in turn leads to cold, stiff, and shortened muscles in the body that will be in high demand once you start your workout.  

There are about 100 benefits to warming up the body before exercise, some of them include:

  • Priming the heart for exercise, 

  • opening up capillaries for increased oxygen flow to muscles, 

  • increasing the temperature of the muscles so they can contract and relax faster, 

  • increased nerve transmission, 

  • increased muscle metabolism for more efficient muscle activation, 

  • increasing the force and stretch that can be subjected on a muscle before it will strain, 

  • Even turning off your brain from previous events in the day, and mentally preparing to focus on the workout ahead. 

When we prepare to move our bodies in multiple planes and directions, especially outside of the position we have been in all day, a proper warm-up will make it much easier to achieve those positions. When we are left to our own devices, warm-ups tend to look like calf stretch or a toe touch while we chat and wait for the rest of the group to show up.  What is actually needed is a full sequential series of movements that address almost every possible direction one could move their body to stretch the muscles that spend all day in a shortened immobile state and prepare them for a training session.  

At KORE, we do a series of 8 compound dynamic movements to prepare the body for action. When done properly, these 8 movements have proven to be extremely successful in priming the body for anything from the most grueling trail runs, to soccer games, to kettlebell training sessions and beyond.  

The key word here is done PROPERLY.  We can sandbag a warm-up as easily as we can sandbag everything else which is why we've provided a video of our warm up and the key points of each exercise.  Pay attention to your body as you go through your warm up, here is a checklist to take note of as you through this warm up: 

  • Is there an exercise you cannot do? (how can you modify it?)

  • Do you struggle with some of these movements due to tightness? 

  • Does your immobility limit your ability to do the warm up exercise as intendedor cause you to compensate somewhere else? 

  • Do you feel what muscles are intended to be stretched? 

  • Is there a pinching sensation on the opposite side of the stretch (this usually indicates and impingement)? 

  • Take note of the tight muscles -  are they symmetrical or is the right side tighter than the left? If this the case: is it for all of the exercises or just one? 

  • Do you have worse balance on one side versus the other? 

Any answers of yes to these questions merits some time spent on that specific area outside of the just the time spent before you your training program for the day.  Generally, it is a matter of some myofascial work, sometimes it takes some additional mobility work or a focused mobility program for that issue. If you notice any of these things as you are warming up for a session at KORE, mention it to your trainer so he or she can help you with the issue. 

Check out our Dynamic Warm-up Video Here 




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