Okay, so you’re ready to embark on an intense, structured program and get started working toward your fitness goals… The first (and most important) aspect of your workout is warming up!

Warming up is going to consist of, not only getting your heart rate up, but preparing your body for the difficult workout you are about to attempt.

The ideal warm-up should last about 8-10 minutes or more and involve the following (in this order):

General Warm-up: The general warm-up is the catch-all initial phase of exercise you should do before every workout. Some examples include jogging, uphill walking on the treadmill, the elliptical, stairclimber, etc. Your main objective here is to move the body from a rested, “cold” state to a state where you can properly accomplish the remainder of the warm-up. Moderate to light intensity for 2-3minutes.

Dynamic Stretching – “Stretching in motion”: Dynamic stretching is an important part of the warm-up, not necessarily to increase flexibility, but to prevent injury as you stretch your muscles while moving (just as you will be doing during your workout session). Some examples of dynamic stretching exercises include: straight-leg swings, bodyweight walking lunges, arm swings, rolling abdominal stretches on ball, alternating toe touches. Light intensity for 2-5minutes.

Specific Warm-Up: Here is where things really vary. Your objective with the specific warm-up is to prepare the body for the specific exercises you are about to do. For instance if you are about to workout your lower body a good specific warm-up for an individual would be walking lunges with no additional weight, or standing bodyweight squats. Taking the first few exercises during the workout and using little or no weight is usually sufficient for the specific warm-up. Moderate to light intensity for 3-5minutes.

**A proper warm-up varies completely according to ones health and fitness level. If one of the previously listed exercises aggravates a pre-existing injury then you should avoid that exercise and try to substitute a less stressful one in its place. **