4

votes

Are pre-exercise warm-ups necessary?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 26, 2010 at 9:59 PM

I have never been a fan of warming up before exercise. In recent years I have stopped completely, with no injuries at all.

Warming up doesn't seem natural at all. I've never seen a lioness with her hind leg on a tree stretching her hamstring before the hunt. Granted, she wouldn't sit on an office chair for 12 hours a day...but does anyone have any views for or against warming up?

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on January 07, 2013
at 09:25 PM

Thank you for the link to Jon from Potomac CrossFit!

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 29, 2012
at 03:24 AM

Arthur Jones said its perfectly safe if you go slow for the first 3-4 reps then you can push/pull as fast as you can maintain control (which would not be fast with the right amount of weight), for what thats worth. I personally do at least 1'set' at 50% weight for 3-7

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on October 29, 2010
at 02:43 AM

necessary? no. conditioned response? yes

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 27, 2010
at 07:57 PM

There are advanced athletes that definitely need some static stretching. I am probably not one of them. But Greg E over at Catalyst Athletics has some of his athletes stretching out their wrists before Oly workouts, for example, and many other good coaches do the same. I agree that the vast majority of people would benefit more from mobility drills.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on October 27, 2010
at 05:58 PM

I'd say they would benefit more from post/ separate stretching or dynamic rather than static or worse bouncing. You want your muscles and tendons circulating rather than shortened

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on October 27, 2010
at 05:50 PM

I don't think warming up is crucial for all exercises, but it definitely is for heavy resistance training - IMO. If you go right into, say, a 5RM deadift without warming up, I think you are asking for an injury.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 27, 2010
at 05:04 PM

Stephen, I agree with you, but some people who have major flexibility issues do benefit from static stretching prior to training. The risk of not stretching outweighs the risks of temporary muscle weakening in those cases. Personally, I do mobility drills 95% of the time, and static stretching on occasion when I really need it.

Cf1189fc2e0acdd49ce566e43238ffb6

on October 27, 2010
at 03:56 PM

static stretching may not be a smart idea, however dynamic stretching and mobility drills are a smart idea.

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on October 27, 2010
at 03:18 PM

The only times I've hurt myself when lifting weights has been when I didn't warm up. However I am more than 30 years old, only really started exercising in the last few years and work sitting down in front of a computer. YMMV.

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on October 27, 2010
at 03:16 PM

Warm-up is not the same as stretching

8254c4e4d1f2aedd09cb9608b8777654

(140)

on October 27, 2010
at 12:50 PM

I totally agree. My exercise is running. If I run outside, I start slowly for the first couple of minutes. If I run inside on a treadmill, I walk for 60 seconds, then do a 9 minute slow job at 6.3 mph, then do my intervals. I stretch the hips a little after the running is over, do some pushups and pullups, maybe some situps and some leg raises for my quads and hamstrings. I'm 54 and it works for me.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 26, 2010
at 10:54 PM

hmm, i kind of always thought that animals' approach to stretching was really good. In that they seem to be stretching a lot, like all the time. They dont do it pre-exercise but rather just regularly throughout the day. So maybe this is somewhat helping them be always ready for action. I do indeed think that our only-preexercise stretching is prolly not the best way to employ the overall idea of stretching.

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9 Answers

5
77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 27, 2010
at 02:45 AM

Wow... I warm up for 30 minutes or more sometimes. It depends on the workout, on the person, and on the person's goals.

If you just want to "work out" then you might get away with not warming up. If you want to train toward a specific goal, you should probably spend some time warming up and addressing mobility issues.

Most people have moderate to severe orthopedic and mobility issues, in my opinion. I think it's crazy not to spend 10-15 minutes addressing this every day. I am more flexible than most men my age, and yet I have

  • dorsiflexion issues in my left ankle,
  • internal rotation deficit in my left hip,
  • tight hip flexors,
  • short hamstrings,
  • internal rotation deficit in the left shoulder,
  • slight kyphosis, etc. etc. etc.

If you never warm up and you never get injured, you are lucky. If you are a former gymnast with excellent mobility and stability, then you may get away with doing less. Most of us are not that lucky.

Most of us spend a significant amount of time sitting, driving, looking at computer screens, wearing shoes (at least before we found Vibrams), etc., and that contributes to chronic mobility issues that are easy to improve, but often difficult to resolve completely.

I would wager that I could find some moderate or severe mobility issues in any of you within a few minutes, and I am frankly not that knowledgeable about this stuff.

"The shorter the workout, the longer the warmup should be. You need to warmup for 35 minutes for Fran. You need to warmup for 5 minutes for Murph." -- so says Jon from Potomac CrossFit, and I think he's one of the smarter coaches I've ever encountered online. (Fran, done correctly, is usually 2-5 minutes. Murph is more like 30-60+ minutes, depending on the athlete.) Jon's blog is titled "Barbells and Bacon" so obviously, he's worth listening to.

6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

(373)

on January 07, 2013
at 09:25 PM

Thank you for the link to Jon from Potomac CrossFit!

2
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on October 27, 2010
at 11:26 AM

"We have developed this idea of static stretching at exactly the wrong time," said Kieran O'Sullivan, an exercise expert at the University of Limerick in Ireland, who has studied various types of stretching and their impact on athletes.

When you stretch before exercising, your body may think it's at risk of being overstretched. It compensates by contracting and becoming more tense. That means you aren't able to move as fast or as freely, making you more likely to get hurt."

Don't stretch before activity. Simply warm up and get loose thru moving around and light activity. Get your circulation going. After the activity you can stretch to improve your maximum range...

In the last few years, several studies have found static stretching before playing a sport makes you slower and weaker.

Cf1189fc2e0acdd49ce566e43238ffb6

on October 27, 2010
at 03:56 PM

static stretching may not be a smart idea, however dynamic stretching and mobility drills are a smart idea.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on October 27, 2010
at 05:58 PM

I'd say they would benefit more from post/ separate stretching or dynamic rather than static or worse bouncing. You want your muscles and tendons circulating rather than shortened

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 27, 2010
at 07:57 PM

There are advanced athletes that definitely need some static stretching. I am probably not one of them. But Greg E over at Catalyst Athletics has some of his athletes stretching out their wrists before Oly workouts, for example, and many other good coaches do the same. I agree that the vast majority of people would benefit more from mobility drills.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 27, 2010
at 05:04 PM

Stephen, I agree with you, but some people who have major flexibility issues do benefit from static stretching prior to training. The risk of not stretching outweighs the risks of temporary muscle weakening in those cases. Personally, I do mobility drills 95% of the time, and static stretching on occasion when I really need it.

8254c4e4d1f2aedd09cb9608b8777654

(140)

on October 27, 2010
at 12:50 PM

I totally agree. My exercise is running. If I run outside, I start slowly for the first couple of minutes. If I run inside on a treadmill, I walk for 60 seconds, then do a 9 minute slow job at 6.3 mph, then do my intervals. I stretch the hips a little after the running is over, do some pushups and pullups, maybe some situps and some leg raises for my quads and hamstrings. I'm 54 and it works for me.

1
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on October 27, 2010
at 08:34 AM

Warming up prepares the organism (body and mind) for what's to come. Stretching is not necessary a part of a warm up. You will probably notice that if you do not warm up, your workout will not be as intense from the first exercise you do. That's actually the central nervous system holding the body back for not being prepared to go all the way.

A warming up should only have two rules: 1. it is gradual (not necesseraly long) 2. it has all the movements of the workout/game/contest/... that you are warming up for.

So warming up for sprinting could just mean: doing some running and building up to sprinting. A basketball game warm-up should be more elaborate (but not necesseraly stretching). A ballet dancer probably has to do some mobility work (not necesseraly static stretches).

Most of the times, a really good warm up is doing the exercises you want to do, but start easy, and build up the intensity. Depending on the intensity of the workout (and on personal situation and context), this will be rather short or long.

If you do strength/power training, and you feel that the middle part of the workout was better than the first part, you were probably not warmed up well.

This is not really a problem, unless you are doing exercises with relative high risk (e.g. oly lifts). Otherwise, the first part of the workout was sort of an extended warm-up.

Hope this helps

1
E323df04e71cba90efef6c540931cb2d

(10)

on October 26, 2010
at 10:04 PM

Im a lazy bastard when it comes to warm up.. However I never get hurt, lift pretty heavy and wonder the same thing.. I would think it depends on the 'condition' of the trainee. There aren't to many fat, osteo, arthritic, lions out there...

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on October 27, 2010
at 03:18 PM

The only times I've hurt myself when lifting weights has been when I didn't warm up. However I am more than 30 years old, only really started exercising in the last few years and work sitting down in front of a computer. YMMV.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on October 27, 2010
at 05:50 PM

I don't think warming up is crucial for all exercises, but it definitely is for heavy resistance training - IMO. If you go right into, say, a 5RM deadift without warming up, I think you are asking for an injury.

0
Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 29, 2012
at 07:07 AM

That lioness may not be doing warmups, but all cats enjoy a good stretch ... that nice yawn showing off all the teeth, the legs out front and back, claws unsheathing and sheathing ... before curling back up for a nice snooze ...

0
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on January 29, 2012
at 03:17 AM

I twist myself about to lubricate my joints... And i run sprints to get my body fired up... But I'm not stretching until afterwards, when it is time for tension compensation and recovery.

0
Ada7566560b407664313a451adefa377

(206)

on January 29, 2012
at 02:37 AM

Warm ups are important especially for strength training. It will fire up your Central Nervous System and get you ready for that heavy weight.

Plus it will prevent injuries by getting blood into the area and getting the muscle loose.

Just warm up it takes 10 minutes lol.

0
E57d8e182251b61ccc6ada197c359d7e

on January 28, 2012
at 10:31 PM

I am not the biggest exercise person but since i started Paleo/Primal i have been following the primal blueprint fitness plan from Mark Sisson and it has worked great for me. He doesn't feel that long stretching and warm ups is a value. He might do some hanging from a bar and some squats and then maybe some light movement like jumping jacks. This should take no more the 5 minutes. Then maybe one quick set of what ever you are doing at a really light weight. Then go at it. This has worked for me and I haven't had any injuries in 6 months. So I buy it.

0
2f653fa504adc81612619106e7d1f65e

on October 26, 2010
at 10:38 PM

I have the same routine and I do stretch a little before I dig in. But there have been times that I didn't and I can't say one was different from the other?!

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on October 27, 2010
at 03:16 PM

Warm-up is not the same as stretching

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