Most people believe a proper warm-up should consist of some stretching prior to your main workout. However, static stretches (holding a stretch for 15-25 seconds) can actually weaken your muscles before your training and prove to be counterproductive.
Stretching should be done at the end of your workout when the muscles and joints are more receptive to static stretching (holding a stretch for 15-25 seconds). This will be more effective for improving flexibility and decreasing muscle soreness.
So what should your warm-up include? You should do something that will increase your heart rate. For example, five to 10 minutes on the treadmill or bike. A dynamic stretching/warm-up, movements that take a muscle through a full range of motion using body movement, can also be a great warm-up. These may consist of body weight squats, lunges, butt kicks, high knees or hip swings. You should be sweating a little after a proper warm-up.
Nick Clark, along with his wife, Nicole, is the owner of Fitness Together-Lakewood Ranch. For more information, call 739-3682 or visit www.fitnesstogether.com/lakewoodranch.
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