From personal experience, the first hard efforts in training can be extremely uncomfortable if I am not prepared to do the work. The older you get the longer it seems to take as well.
There are a host of things that happen in your body during the warm up period that I believe help the body perform better. I also believe that the damage to the body caused by hard training is minimized by a good warm-up prior to the work.
A warm-up begins the process of preparing the muscles and joints for work in several ways.
The increased activity raises blood flow to the muscles. Capillaries open and provide more pathways for blood to more muscle cells. The temperature of the muscle increases allowing for more efficient contraction.
The aerobic energy system is engaged and this helps spare the glycogen stores for later work. Other connective tissues like tendons and ligaments are loosened up reducing the risk of injury. The nervous system is engaged at increased levels to improve muscle function. Mental focus is increased in preparation for more intense work.
Muscle contraction is a mechanical movement resulting from nerve stimulation and chemical activity. Just like your automobile engine that runs better and more efficiently after it is warmed up, your muscles perform better if they are given some time to get all these systems revved up. Not only does a warm up help you perform better, it is also one of your first step toward recovery.
The stress on the body and the damage done to muscle fibres and nervous system during intense training can be dramatic. Intense work damages and tears the cell membranes surrounding the muscle fibres. It also depletes valuable energy stores in the body. All of this damage has to be repaired and energy stores have to be replenished before you will be able to go hard again.
The bad news is that this damage can take up to 48 hours to repair before you can return to 100% capacity. The good news is that you can reduce the effects of a hard workout before it starts with a good warm-up. Taking some time to prepare the mechanical and chemical systems in your body for hard work will measurably reduce the damage done during training.
I suspect that I am preaching to the converted about all this warm-up stuff. The important thing when warming up before an intense weight training session is to warm up the muscles you’re going to use, as it will prepare the muscles you’re going to target for the work ahead. It would be pointless doing a running warm up if you were going to hit your upper body. Instead, you’d be better off hitting the rowing machine for 10-15 minutes.
Warming up the correct muscle groups that you will be training works and helps you perform better.
John is a fitness blogger who loves to write on fitnes and excercise. He prefers CardioTech treadmills for his daily warm up excercise.