When it comes to workout routines, most people think of only the reps and sets of the workout. But there is more to the structure of a workout routine than just that. It can be harmful to your body and progress if you immediately jump into the workout.
Just like a good book or movie, their is a beginning, middle and end; this is the same with a workout. Going straight into the middle can be overwhelming to the body if you didn’t do, “see,” the beginning.
By “The Beginning,” I mean the warm-up and stretches.
The warm-up helps to literally warm-up the body. It gets the blood flowing to the areas of the body that are going to be used. Preparing it to do the exercises efficiently.
This can be a variety of different motions, jumping rope, running in place, or mobility movements if your working a certain area of the body.
Once the body is warmed up, the next step is to lightly stretch those muscles out. The point of the stretch is to loosen tension from that muscle in order to avoid injury.
Think of the muscle as taffy, when its nice and warmed-up its loose and flexible, easy to move. When taffy is cold, its stiff and has a tendency to snap if over forced.
This is the same way to look at your muscles. Don’t want to pull or snap anything whilst cold.
“The Middle,” this is where the actual exercise takes place.
Your body is ready to execute the X number of sets with the X number of reps. Or even the distance of a run or biking session. This portion depends on what section of the body you are working on and your goals.
“The End,” cool down and stretches.
Just like movies and books, after the climax it doesn’t just fade to black, and neither should your workout.
Its best to cool down your heart rate and get the lactic acid out of your muscles by doing lighter exercises. Following the cool down is more stretching. Stretching after helps to grow the muscle and alleviate any potential soreness.
Think of your workout as a narrative, a story to invest in. All parts are important and depend on each other to have a good and balanced workout routine. Enjoy the your fitness story.