Time for a Mirror Friendly Q&A
QUESTION: How should I do a proper warmup? Should I stretch before or after my workout? Isn’t it dangerous to skip stretching before a workout?
ANSWER: In order to answer this question I will first list down the characteristics of a proper warmup routine before your workout or training session:
1. Lubricates your joints by releasing synovial fluid; decreases muscle, joint and ligament rigidity.
2. Gradually elevates your heart rate; enables better flow of blood and nutrients to your muscles.
3. Slowly increases your body temperature.
4. Awakens and primes your nervous system; wakes up the mind.
5. Prepares your body for higher resistance and intensity.
The only warm-up which does all this is a DYNAMIC WARMUP (see video below), as opposed to stretching, which is static.
Stretching serves to elongate contracted muscles whereas what you need before a workout is to have your muscles warmed up in their natural tension/length.
Stretching should therefore find its place right after your workout as part of the cool-down, at which point you need to regain the natural muscle tension/length after it has become shortened/contracted during your workout.
Finally, keep in mind that a proper warmup should involve your whole body, as our upper body muscles are connected to our lower body ones and vice-versa. So there is no such thing as warming specific body parts.
To fitness with love,