You wouldn’t put a pie in the oven without preheating, would you? That would be inefficient. In the same way, you shouldn’t do a full-blown workout before you warm up your body, especially if you’ve already had an injury.
Since your spine and back muscles bear most of your body’s weight, some of the more common types of injuries occur to your back and spine. A sudden twist or increase in the weight it has to bear can cause serious injury. A pre-workout warmup reduces the risk of injury or at least keeps your back injury from getting worse.
Tips and Tricks
Sports warmups don’t have to be lengthy or strenuous. Generally, 10 minutes can suffice — or until you break a sweat. It takes some athletes longer to get warmed up. Then they keep their muscles warmed up throughout the activity by jogging or running in place.
Just like having good form and hydrating during a workout, knowing a few tips and tricks will enhance and improve your sports warmups. When you do a warmup, try to:
- Use your entire body
- Suit your sports warmup to your activity
- Do dynamic activities instead of static stretching
- Avoid stress on any part of your body if it hurts during warmups
- Practice proper form, especially for core warmups
Follow the Rule
People often stretch before a workout. While stretching is great, experts now say that static stretching — that is, holding a position — could be as bad as jumping straight into a workout, especially for core muscles. If you start by stretching cold, it could put undue stress on your spine. Dynamic sports warmups, which include cardio and stretching, prepare your body more completely.
You should also match your warmup to the activity you’ll be doing. If you’re going on a run, for example, start by jogging. If you’re biking, pedal slowly until you’re ready to hit higher intensity. There are even warmups for other activities, like weightlifting or actual games.
The 10 Best Sports Warmups
Depending on whether you’re doing cardio, weights, playing a sport or something that involves all three, the following warmups help get your blood pumping and involve your whole body. Talk to your doctors and physical therapist about which exercises are best for your situation, especially if you’ve just had back surgery or are undergoing treatment for back pain.
There are several core warmups you can do if you’re specifically going to work out your back. They should be done before lifting or activities that have a lot of rapid movement. The toe-touch is a good dynamic stretch that can protect your back while you play. The 10 best warmups for any activity are:
- Jumping rope
- Jumping jacks
- Arm circles
- High kicks
- Toe touches
Bonus Sports Warmups
Even though you’re about to work out your body, one of the most important warmups you can do is a mental warm up. Preparing your mind with as much energy as your body improves technique, skill, coordination and even stamina.
When preparation and focus meet your instincts on the field, the obstacles you encounter are no match for you. Work and play harder, longer and better by taking an extra 10 minutes to do a warmup, especially if you’re nursing an injured back or spine. Give your body the chance to perform at its best.