Lesson 2: Warm Ups & Cool Downs

As you know, exercise is a stressor to the body. Sometimes the stress can be intense, sometimes not so much.

Either way, you are requiring the muscles in your body to lengthen and shorten. You are asking the body to create forces and resist forces. You are asking the joints in your body to allow freedom of movement. You are asking the lungs to do a good job in providing the body with oxygen and you are asking the brain to communicate to the body all of these actions and many more.

You see, exercise is more complex than you think. You see all of the challenges on the outside such as lifting the weights, pushing the sleds and flipping the tires, but do you have a good understanding on what’s going on, on the inside.

An adequate warm goes far beyond “increasing blood flow, raising your core temperature and loosening you up”. Although those are very important, a warm-up should be the first tool you use to give yourself permission to engage in exercise.  

The warm-up should also be an assessment. It should tell you what feels good, what feels bad, what’s moving well, what’s not moving so well and most importantly if you are mentally ready to engage in physical activity.

For example, let’s say your workout calls for some barbell back squatting. Within your warm-up, you have included

     - hip bridges

     - body weight squats

     - seal jacks

After performing a series of these movements you realize there is some sharp pain in your knee, along with some clicking and popping noises. You also learn that your chest is super tight from the chest blaster you did yesterday.

Now what?

Well, I will state the obvious, a loaded bar on your back WILL NOT make these go away. At worst it can amplify them and ruin your workout (and life).  

Is something seriously wrong? I don’t know, but I would definitely suggest some further assessing and warming up before you begin. 

Why? Well your knees are crucial to the back squat (and life) and a loose and open chest will definitely provide some more comfort to holding the bar (and life).

If a warm-up and assessment are ignored you put the quality of your workout (and life) at risk. 

A great warm-up will set the tone for a great workout. Give your body the 5-25 minutes it deserves!

Perhaps your warm-up went well, and this set the tone for a great work out! You hit your back squat PR of a gazillion pounds and you’re ready to call it a day.

Should you? You better not.

An adequate cool down goes far beyond allowing the heart rate to drop steadily and bringing the body temperature down.

A cool down should…….you guessed it!

Be used as an assessment! 

Do you feel good?

Feel great? 

Does something hurt that wasn’t hurting before?

Gather as much information as possible during the cool down.  Use this information to help improve the quality of your fitness journey, oh yea AND LIFE!

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