Exercise plays a role in the maintenance of a healthy body.
When working out, however, failure to plan out the exercise can lead to consequences.
It is reported that well over 400,000 experience injuries while exercising on an annual basis.
When it comes to your own safety, a bodyweight warm-up session should be an essential part of your exercise routine.
Warming up helps to loosen tight muscles, prevent injury, and could even improve your physical performance.
We look at why a warm-up is important and share a simple three-step plan.
Should You Warm Up Before A Bodyweight Workout?
In one study, researchers looked at common causes of injuries among athletes. The researchers found that overexertion is the most common reason for people to experience injuries while they are exercising.
Overexertion can occur because of multiple reasons. Some people experience such an injury due to a higher load than what their bodies can take.
In other cases, however, overexertion occurs because the individual failed to warm up before they started with the exercise.
With this in mind, it is important to note that warming up before performing bodyweight workouts is crucial.
In addition to loosening muscles, the warm-up also provides these added benefits:
- Mobility is improved
- Blood circulation is enhanced
- Better elasticity in muscle tissue
You also reduce your risk of experiencing an injury. Many people also find that a warm-up puts them in a good mood.
In turn, your mind would be in a better state once you start with the main exercise.
It is important to take note that muscle tissue depends on a consistent supply of oxygen. Your blood carries oxygen to every part of your body – including muscle tissue.
When you exercise, the demand for oxygen, as well as nutrients that flow through the blood circulatory system, increases.
If you fail to warm up, then less oxygen and nutrients are sent to your muscle tissue throughout the main exercise routine.
This is why you may experience muscle fatigue after just a few sets. By increasing blood circulation, you ensure more oxygenated blood is delivered to muscles – thus increasing the time you can spend exercising before experiencing fatigue.
Best Bodyweight Warm Up Routine
There are many warm-up options that can be used to gain these benefits. The main factor to consider is that warm-up exercises should not be hard on your body.
Instead, they should help to loosen up muscle tissue and get your heart pumping, without causing you to overexert yourself before you start with the main workout.
In this section, we share a few useful bodyweight warm-up steps that you should take.
These warm ups offer numerous benefits, which we explain in each section.
Increasing Your Heartrate
You should start with some activities that help to raise your pulse. The main goal here is to increase blood flow to muscle tissue.
Activities that raise your heart rate also ensure sufficient oxygen and nutrients will be supplied to your muscles when you start with the main exercise program.
There are a few activities that you can do. It is a good idea to choose an activity and do it for about five minutes. One of the least complicated options is to simply take a quick jog.
Many people would jog on a specific spot – this is great when space is limited in the area.
You can also get a jump rope out – this is another good bodyweight warm-up exercise that increases your pulse rate.
Once you get your heart rate up and your body is warmed up, then it is time to do a few stretch exercises.
Stretching is an important part of bodyweight warm-up.
This is the step that helps to get muscles to loosen – and aids in reducing your risk of injuring your muscles once the real workout starts.
There are different types of stretching exercises that you can consider. Both static and dynamic stretching can be helpful.
Since you are preparing your body for bodyweight workouts, however, a set of dynamic stretches could be the better choice.
Dynamic stretching allows you to greatly enhance your mobility and does not require you to hold a position in place.
Here is an overview of a good stretching program that you can use:
- Start with about 10 reps of lunges. Add an overhead reach to the lunge. Perform five reps on each side of your body.
- Perform about 10 reps of standing walkouts, followed by 10 press-ups (with a position that starts at the knee).
- You can add glute bridges and hip rotations to the stretch session too. These can help to loosen muscles in the torso and groin area.
It is relatively easy to mix things up when you do stretches. You should consider which parts of your body were engaged during the previous step.
Aiming for balance is important here. For example, if you did not engage your upper body too much during the initial warm-up activities, then you should add a few shoulder shrugs to the stretching phase.
You can also do about 10 reps of arm circles.
Now that your muscles are loose, your heart rate is up, and your body is warm, it is time to start activating muscles. There is no fixed strategy that can be used in this phase of your bodyweight warm-up.
You will need to take the bodyweight exercises you are planning to perform into consideration.
This allows you to understand which muscles will be engaged during the workout session – which also helps you identify the right muscle activation activities to perform during the warm-up.
For a standard bodyweight workout routine, you could consider starting out with some box squats, followed by press-ups. Assisted lunges and inverted rows are also great for this particular scenario.
Try to do about two sets of each exercise. Each set should consist of around five reps. Give yourself one minute to rest after completing each set.
Once you are done with your muscle activation activities, it is important to also allow your body to take a quick break before you move on to the main workout.
Post Workout Cooldown
Many people focus solely on warming up when they want to do a bodyweight workout.
It is, however, important to implement a cooldown session too.
There is no need for the post-workout session to be lengthy. The idea here is to give your muscles a final stretch, while also slowly bringing your heart rate down.
One report also explains that stretching post-workout helps to maintain flexibility and strength in the muscle tissue.
For this reason, a stretching session is advisable. There are a few useful post-workout stretches that you can consider performing.
Get into a seated position and start with some toe touches.
Make sure your legs are at a straight position in front of your body. Stretch out to touch your toes with both hands.
Apart from a few toe touches, here are additional stretches that you should also consider doing:
- Butterfly stretch
- Iron cross
- Quad stretch
- Figure four stretch
- Hip opener
- Triceps stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Seated shoulder squeeze
- Seated neck stretch
Aim for a stretch session that lasts about five minutes.
This gives your muscles sufficient stretching, without causing you to overexert yourself in the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are bodyweight squats a good warm-up?
Bodyweight squats are considered an excellent option when it comes to warming up before an exercise routine.
These particular activities are especially useful for warming the body. Thus, try to include a few bodyweight squats in the first phase of your warm-up routine.
How many reps should I do for warm-up?
It depends on how intense the main workout will be. Start with light exercises. About 15 reps should be sufficient. Then gradually increase the intensity.
Once you reach about 60% of the intensity that will be used throughout the exercise routine, then try to do about eight reps. This number of reps should be sufficient for increasing your pulse and improving blood circulation.
How many minutes should you warm-up?
Aim to do your warm-up routine for a minimum period of five minutes. Many people find that extending this to about 10 minutes gives them better results.
You could do a light warm-up for the first five minutes and then increase the pace for the last five minutes.
Failure to warm-up prior to a bodyweight workout session increases your risk of sustaining injury.
This also makes you more likely to experience overexertion and can affect your physical performance.
Follow the simple three-step session we shared to help loosen muscles before you start with your bodyweight exercises.