Updated: Apr 22
Everyone understands what warming up is. If not "A preparatory activity or procedure" is the definition of warming up according to Merriam-Webster. Now what does the mean? In the context of this article it'll mean "activities that lower the chances of injury as well as helping the muscles become more explosive for the working sets of a workout". Now how would you warmup? Running sprints? Static stretching? Rep out an all-out max bench press? All of those will likely now be the best to start out with. In my personal opinion the best warm up consists of Plyometric exercises.
Okay, so what is a Plyometric exercise? The definition of Plyometric is "Exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles (as by jumping and rebounding) to increase muscle power." according to Merriam-Webster. Some examples include: skips, jump roping, walking single leg deadlifts, walking high kicks, squat jumps, broad jumps, medicine ball slams, and lateral jumps just to name a few. With a one google search anyone can find many more as well. Now with warming up one of the most important things to do is to make sure the exercises that are being preformed as a warm up do now bring muscles exhaustion. As the purpose is to help the muscles before the working sets.
Why should you do plyometric exercises as a warmup? A study done by School of Sports Science, Beijing Sport University, Beijing, China and School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK found that Running Economy (Running economy is complex and multifactorial, and is related to biomechanical, metabolic, neuromuscular, and cardiorespiratory factors.) improved 6.2% at 7 km(4.34 miles), 9.1% at 8 km(4.97 miles), 4.5% at 9 km(5.59 miles), 4.4% at 10 km(6.21 miles). Essentially Plyometric warm ups have a profound effects on your ability to run as it causes increases leg stiffness. Leg stiffness was shown to increase by 20% between the nonplyometric(control group) warmups and the plyometric warmups. A quote from Dr. Ryan DeBell sums up the how important leg stiffness is "Muscle contractions are the type of tension you want to use to your advantage when running. For example, when a muscle contracts, it becomes stiffer. You need and want that kind of stiffness. How else would you ever be able to propel yourself forward if you didn’t create stiffness?"
In the end, plyometric warm ups wont be the best option for everyone as nothing in the fitness industry is a solution for everyone. That being said being active and breaking down new boundaries is the goal that everyone should shoot for everyday.