Well here goes, as promised last week, some ‘clear, concise and doubtless thrilling information on basic workout structure and the often neglected areas of warming up and cooling down.’ I’ll admit at this point that I’m not entirely certain that I’m going to be able to deliver on the thrilling part but I shall endeavor to do my best
Firstly, for those of you who like to cut to the chase, here’s the very clear and concise Cliffe’s Notes on the subject
- Your workout should consist of 3 basic elements – a warm up, a conditioning phase – the workout ‘proper’ and a cool down.
- ALWAYS start with a warm up.
- ALWAYS finish with a cool down.
Those of you who like a bit more depth to your blog posts should now read on
Warming up prepares the body both mentally and physically, increasing the effectiveness of your workout while also reducing the risk of injury. Research has shown the perhaps the main factor in muscular injury prevention is body temperature (Noonan, 1993): muscle is more elastic when warm and therefore less susceptible to injury. A warm up should involve a gradual increase in exercise intensity to avoid oxygen debt and should facilitate the transition from rest to the level of exercise required in the conditioning phase. Physiological benefits of warming up are
- a rise in body temperature, causing an increase in enzyme and metabolic activity, and improving the efficiency of muscle contraction.
- an increase in the temperature of the blood, changing the partial pressure of blood gases. This means that more oxygen leaves the blood and enters muscle tissue. There is also an increase in blood flow, leading to an increase in oxygen in muscle tissue. More oxygen in muscle tissue equates to more energy, more reps and greater results.
- increased flexibility of muscles and tendons, leading to a reduced risk of injury.
- an increase in mental alertness.
Warming up also allows you time to psychologically prepare yourself. As you become more alert mentally relax, clear your mind and begin to focus on the workout ahead.
Practically speaking, while exact prescriptions vary and the perfect warm up is a very individual process that can only come with practice, experimentation and experience, 5 – 10 minutes cardio, of sufficient intensity to raise your core temperature, with light warm up sets for each resistance exercise during the conditioning phase, is a good place to start.
Cooling down allows you to mentally and physically transition from an exertional state to a resting or near-resting state. The physiological benefits of cooling down are
- dispersal of lactic acid which can cause cramps and stiffness.
- gradual reduction of the heart rate to its resting rate.
- prevention of blood pooling.
- reduce potential for hypertension and dizziness.
Cooling down also allows you time to psychologically readjust, reviewing your workout and preparing for the day – or night – ahead.
Cool downs should involve a gradual yet continuous decrease in exercise intensity, stretching, and re hydration As with warming up the duration can vary for different people, but 5 – 10 minutes is generally considered adequate. Clients who are personal training in Edinburgh with me will testify that my standard cool down prescription is 3 – 10 minutes walking on the treadmill @ lvl 3, followed by 5 – 10 minutes static stretching, which I’ll be covering in next weeks thrilling installment
So there you have it, my first clear, concise and thrilling weekly blog post Ok, thrilling may have been pushing it