Why we warm it up & stretch it out

Fitness & Training Tips

About PJ

It’s a satisfying feeling to be part of a team that has such a positive impact on people’s lives. I graduated from Health and Sports Science in 2004 as an Exercise Physiologist. It’s my job at Ignite to do whatever I can to ensure our clients are using Ignite and getting the great results that everyone wants.
Doing a proper warm up at the start of your workout and and addressing your flexibility deficits at the end of your workouts can make a big difference to your movement patterns, workout performance, injury prevention and ultimately the results you reap from your time in the gym.
At Ignite we have specific ‘warm it up’ protocols based on the key movements you’re doing in your workout to best prepare your body for what’s coming.
We then have protocols to ‘stretch it out’ at the end of your workout to address deficits in your flexibility.
‘Warming it up’ and ‘stretching it out’ are key aspects of your workout that deserve the same focus, attention to detail and effort that is afforded the strength and conditioning aspects of your workout.  
A little more on why each is so important below:
“WARM IT UP” – to help get the most out of the rest of your session:
–  If you haven’t walked or cycled to the gym 1-2 minutes on the assault bike or rower is ideal to promote blood flow to the muscles and to lubricate the joints
–  Active mobility pieces (i.e. cook squats) ensure that your full range of motion is at your disposal when it’s time to start your workout. *Please note the purpose of this isn’t to improve flexibility (see below) but to ensure you’re ready to express all of the range of motion you already have!
–  Muscle activation drills (i.e. the banded donkey kick) ensure the muscles you need to use during your workout are active and excited.
“STRETCH IT OUT” to improve flexibility and create new range of motion:
– This is done at the end of the workout when you’re hot, sweaty and fatigued. This means there’s less fight in the muscles which is perfect to enable them to relax and stretch into new ranges of motion.
Doing it at this time is also why a lot of people skip it completely. It requires a shift in thinking from “I’m finished” to “I’m almost finished but I need to catch my breath and spend 5 minutes attacking my tight hamstrings”
– Restoring lost flexibility will help improve your performance by opening the door to new movements that you might currently be to tight to perform safely. I.e. Lengthening tight hamstrings means better positioning on deadlifts. Increased thoracic and shoulder mobility means better overhead positioning for OH BB movements and Handstands.
– Just from watching you move Ignite’s trainers can identify where you are most tight and what you need to focus on with your ‘stretch it out’ interventions.
A fully focussed warm up and stretch either side of the rest of your workout may well be a missing piece of your training puzzle waiting to be benefited from!