How do you know if your muscles are warm enough to exercise?

We have all heard that a warm-up prior to a workout is just as important as the workout itself. It has also been said that one will gain more from a training session if the warm-up is done correctly. Most of us know we must warm up, but few of us really know when our bodies are ‘warm enough’ to begin the main part of our workout.

In this article we will share with you some guidelines. However, before we can answer the question of when our muscles are deemed ‘warm enough’, we need to first look at why we warm up and why it is important to not simply start with our workout in order to save time.

The main reason for the warm-up is to prepare our body for what is to come. If you have been lying down for some time and suddenly jump up, you might feel lightheaded and dizzy.  But if you slowly rise and sit for a while before getting to your feet, you will not experience the same light headedness.

The same goes for your body. If you just simply start lifting that heavy weight, or sprinting on the treadmill or track, your body will not know how to react. This can lead to injuries occurring as the body tries to compensate for not being ready. 

During warm-up, the exercises carried out must be those that will increase your heart rate – allowing for an increase in blood-flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow results in more oxygen and nutrients being supplied to the muscles, in turn allowing for peak performance during training. With the increase in one’s heart rate, the body’s temperature will also increase. This, in turn, will ensure more elasticity of joints and muscles, thereby decreasing the chance for injury to occur.

So, you have done what experts say and started with a warm-up. But, when will your body be ready and warmed up enough to start your main workout?

Experts share the following guidelines on when your body and muscles are ready to engage in exercise:

You have spent at least 10-15 minutes warming up.  The more intense the workout lying ahead,  the longer the warm-up should be.

When you feel a light sweat.

When ventilation (your breathing rate) has increased.

When muscles feel relaxed and ready to go.

If your muscles still feel stiff after your warm-up, you may incorporate some dynamic stretching before getting started with your actual work out.

Remember – the better your warm-up, the better your performance will be. 

Article written by EPT – The Ultimate Sports Recovery Experts