Ever worked with a Master YouCoach? It’s the cat’s pajamas. If you haven’t? Well, fear not – we spoke to Master YouCoach Janzen Fallgren, and he shared with us some great insight about the importance of a warm-up before your workout. And, just for good measure, he threw in some great step-by-step instructions for a dynamic stretching routine to round-out that warm-up.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered if you even need a warm up, well sorry to burst your bubble, but yes, you probably should. According to Janzen, “a warm-up is almost universally accepted as an integral part of any workout prescribed by fitness professionals. If you are new to exercising, you may not understand the importance of warming up or what to do. Even if you’re not new and understand that warming up is important, you may still have questions about a warm-up routine.”

Janzen says that the ones he hears most are: What should I do? For how long? Why is it necessary? If you have any of those questions, fear not – by the end of this blog, these questions will be answered and (hopefully) you’ll be convinced to start incorporating some of these strategies the next time you work out.

A good warm-up should get you physically and mentally ready to go: Studies that investigate the impact of warming up prior to a workout generally show a positive impact on subsequent performance and a lessened risk of injury. This is crucial to staying on track and making progress towards your goals. A typical warm-up routine consists of a short period of aerobic exercise, followed by soft tissue work and dynamic stretching. The whole routine should be no longer than ten to 20 minutes. The warm-up should progress gradually in intensity to increase muscle and core temperatures without causing fatigue or reducing energy stores.

The purpose of a warm-up is to increase performance and lessen the risk of injury: The purpose of starting with a short period of aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging or cycling, is to increase heart rate, blood flow, deep muscle temperature, respiration rate, and perspiration and decrease the viscosity of joint fluids. Each of which increases performance and lessens the risk of injury.

Anything else I should do? Yes! This warm-up should be followed by self-myofascial release with a foam roller on any overactive muscles, then a period of dynamic stretching that takes your body through ranges of motion that will help better prepare you for your workout. It’s important to note that dynamic stretching is a form of active movement that isn’t about holding a stretch (this is known as static stretching). If you have any overactive muscles present, foam rolling can help to relax those muscles and help you perform exercises with better form and more comfort. This again goes back to increasing performance and lessening the risk of injury.

Give me a real example to follow! We’re glad you asked:

Warm-up: 1) Start by performing five minutes of slow aerobic activity. For example, walking or jogging on the treadmill would work.

2) Performing any self-myofascial release on overactive muscles present

3) Dynamic stretching routine (see below)

Dynamic stretching routine:

  • Walking knee to chest: one-to-two sets of 20 (ten each leg)
  • Leg swings: one-to-two sets of 20 (ten each leg front to back and side to side)
  • High kicks: one-to-two sets of 20 (ten each leg)
  • Hip hinge with reach: one-to-two sets of ten
  • Bodyweight squat: one-to-two sets of ten
  • Dead-bug: one-to-two sets of ten
  • Bird-dog: one-to-two sets of ten
  • Cat/Cow: one-to-two sets of ten
  • Quadruped rotation: one-to-two sets of ten each side
  • Wall pushups: one-to-two sets of ten