How to warm-up for exercise – experts tell us how to prepare for any workout

Warming up should always be an integral part of any workout.

From playing sport to hitting the gym – making sure your muscles are warm, supple and ready for action is the best way to prevent injuries and get the most out of your fitness.

But what’s the best way to go about it? How do you know if you’re focusing on the right muscles? And do your warm-ups need to change depending on what exercise you’re going to be doing?

We turned to the experts to find out exactly what you need to know to make your next workout as safe and efficient as possible.

James Brown is a former England rugby player. He’s now head of nutrigenomics at Muhdo Health – and he thinks warming up is incredibly important.

‘Whether you’re an elite athlete training for a marathon or doing a Sunday morning jog, warming up is an essential part of any fitness routine,’ James tells

‘It helps to prepare the body, mentally and physically, for sports or fitness activities.

‘Warm-ups are evolving to additionally enhance performance during the workout and for reducing or preventing the risk of injury.

‘A perfectly-tailored warm-up can increase blood flow, muscle temperature, core temperature and also disrupt temporary connective tissue bonds. These can have the following positive effects on performance:

  • Increased oxygen intake because of the gradual increase in the heart rate
  • Optimized ability to perform
  • Increased muscle elasticity while the resistance of the connective tissue is decreased
  • The transmission of nerve impulses is conducted rapidly
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Willingness to exercise is intensified
  • The body adapts to harsh weather conditions more easily’

You might think that a quick, cursory stretch is enough to get your body ready for exercise – but James says we need to spending longer before we jump in.

As an ex-elite athlete, James has first-hand experience of the importance of looking after your muscles at every stage of your workout. He has a simple plan you can follow to ensure you’re getting it right every time.

‘It’s recommended to follow the framework “RAMP” protocol to develop an effective, simple warm-up,’ says James.

‘It should last between approximately 10-30 minutes.

‘It’s helpful to think about the mental, physiological, and bio-mechanical demands of the training session or sport as well as your fitness profile before the warm-up can begin.

‘A DNA test can help athletes to understand more about their internal health and where they may be lacking in areas of fitness such as power or stamina. They can also help to minimise injury and boost recovery after your workout.

‘For example, a training session that is focused on maximising an athlete’s jump capacity should incorporate the use of “priming” exercises such as lower-limb movements (e.g. squats and lunges), hopping, jumping, and landing.

‘All of which should be planned and lead into the main exercises of the session.

‘Well-designed warm-ups have been continuously proven to reduce injuries and enhance performance, and fitness elites and athletes should pay great attention to the objectives and content of every warm-up to deliver the best results.’

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