3 Things That Maximize Workout Results
How great would it be if you could just waltz into the gym and hit heavy squats right off the bat?
Don’t even answer that question because that will never — or should never — happen.
Just like your body doesn’t cool down immediately after a workout (think about how long your heart rate stays elevated), it doesn’t warm up in a matter of seconds, either.
Your body must undergo a series of physiological changes before it’s ready to exercise intensely. Without giving your body a chance to prepare, your workout will be subpar at best and lead to an injury at worst.
In this article, learn exactly what you need to do to maximize your workout results and how to accomplish all of them through a dedicated warmup.
1. Increase Blood Circulation
Blood doesn’t get the credit it deserves when it comes to fitness. It gets overshadowed by joints and muscles — ironic, considering blood supports the movement of joints and muscles. Blood delivers critical nutrients and oxygen to working muscles and joints, without which those body parts can’t function at an optimal level.
Increasing blood circulation should be the first component of any warmup. Not only does increased blood flow support movement, but it’ll get you feeling warm and loose.
To increase blood circulation before a workout, do some easy effort monostructural work. Monostructural work is any form of rhythmic movement that follows a single pattern. In other words, it’s what most people think of as traditional cardio: walking, jogging, cycling, rowing, or stair-stepping. This type of work also increases your heart rate and core body temperature, both of which improve overall workout performance.
2. Mobilize Your Joints
Next up: mobility work. You probably didn’t want to hear that (does anyone actually like mobility work? Asking for a friend). Nonetheless, it’s important.
Performing dynamic mobility exercises before a workout allows you to access deeper ranges of motion in all positions, which in turn forces your body to recruit more muscle fibers to complete a movement. More muscle fibers working means there’s a greater opportunity for strength gains and muscle growth.
In short: Mobile joints –> deeper range of motion –> better lifts –> more gains.
3. Prime Your Muscles
Finally, it’s time to prime the muscles you plan to use in your workout. This is where warmups transition from general to specific. It’s also the part that makes the biggest impact on your workout performance.
Priming involves targeting muscles to fire them up before a full workout or before attempting a specific lift. For example, if you plan to do heavy deadlifts, you’d prime the hamstrings and glutes with exercises like good mornings and single-leg glute bridges. If you plan to do heavy overhead presses, you’d prime your shoulders with front raises, internal and external rotation, and similar movements.
Many people see priming as extra work that just tires you out before your workout, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Priming exercises are meant to be lightweight and intentional — the goal is to spark the mind-to-muscle connection to get the most out of your efforts.
Want to learn more about getting the best results from your workouts? Talk to a World Gym personal trainer about smart fitness programming.