When you exercise, you never want to jump right into action. Trying to perform a 45 minute rowing session or lift your 80% maximum without warming up first is never a good idea. Most people view warming up as a waste of time, but warming up:
- Prevents injury
- Readies to muscles for exertion
Your muscles and tendons can be viewed as rubber bands. When not used, they will get tight. Now, when the weather is cold (or your muscles), a little warming up is necessary. If you pull a rubber band too far and too fast when it’s cold, it will snap.
Muscles are like rubber bands. When cold, they will start to be pulled apart rapidly if you don’t warm up. Ultimately, trying to lift your maximum weight with cold muscles can lead to pulled or torn muscles.
But, what if you don’t have time to warm-up?
Don’t exercise then. Warming up is so important that you must do it if you want to avoid injuries and get the most out if your workout. Stretching is not enough to properly warm up your muscles either – something many people don’t know.
Dynamic Warm-ups Are Best
The same old stretches won’t provide you with a proper warm-up, and they have been shown to decrease strength heading into a workout. Instead, you’ll want to perform a dynamic warm-up that really allows you to ready your muscles for exertion.
When you perform a dynamic warm-up, you’ll:
- Kick-start your central nervous system, getting it ready for your workout.
- Boost blood circulation, ensuring you can put 100% effort into your workout.
- Ensure maximum joint flexibility.
A proper warm up will allow you to really get your body primed for a rigorous rowing session, and you only need to spend 5 – 10 minutes warming up your body.
Warming Up Properly
Rowers should do a complete body warm-up since a lot of muscles groups will be engaged at once, but you can break down your warm-up into upper and lower body if you’re in the gym.
Tight chests or arms require you to do some basic movements to warm them up. For your upper body, you’ll want to include:
- Arm swings: Start with your arms extended to your side and swing them across your chest.
- Shoulder rotations: Hold your arms straight out to the side and move your arms in a circulation motion slowly increasing the radius.
- Pushups: Depending on your fitness level, perform 5 – 20 pushups.
You’ll want to mix in lower body exercises if you’re warming up your chest just to get your blood flowing. These exercises can be done in any order and to your own fitness level.
- Jump rope for 2 – 3 minutes
- Jumping jacks (25 – 50)
- Body weight squats (10 – 20)
- Lunges (5 each side)
- Forward leg swings (5 – 10)
- Side leg swings (5 – 10)
- Hip extensions (5 – 10)
If you have a lower fitness level, you can subtract some of the warm-up exercises above or lessen the reps performed. If you prefer, you can also do something like shadow boxing or spend 5 minutes punching a punching bag instead of the above exercises.
The goal is to get your body loosened up.
Rowers should also start with a 3 – 5 minute warm-up at no resistance and a casual pace before going for full exertion.