As a woman who lifts weights, the last thing you want is to injure yourself. Safe lifting techniques are important, but just as important is a proper warm-up prior to weight training. As a woman, you need to warm up before lifting weights in order to maximize your benefits and reduce your risk of injury using one of the many different available warm-up techniques.
One of the simplest warm-up techniques for women is to aerobically exercise the body. Simply do any sort of aerobic exercise at an easy to moderate intensity for five to 10 minutes. You can jog, ride an elliptical machine, use a rower or even jog in place. An aerobic warm-up increases the heart rate and improves blood flow to all of the muscles you will be working out. It also increases the temperature of your muscles, which helps to make them more flexible and pliable. If you lift weights without warming up, you risk injuring a muscle since your muscles have not yet been warmed and loosened.
Although active stretching by itself is not a proper warm-up, stretching statically following an aerobic warm-up is a great warm-up for women. Active stretching involves slowly moving your body into and out of stretches. For example, take a hip flexor stretch in which you kneel on one knee and push your hips forward. Rather than hold the stretch for 30 seconds, you will slowly rock in and out of the stretch. Static stretching can decrease your performance, and thus is not ideal before weight training. You can actively move through all common stretches, just make sure to move slowly back and forth.
A dynamic warm-up is a great pre-weight-training warm-up for women. Dynamic warm-ups involve you taking your body through specific motions that prepare your body for exercise. Examples include lunges with a twist, inch worms, sumo squats and open book stretches. To do the open book stretch, lie on the ground on your side with both knees bent to 90 degrees. Keep the knees together as you rotate the top arm slowly across your body to the floor on the opposite side. Repeat five times on each side. Prior to your workout, complete five different dynamic warm-up moves.
Weight Training Warm-Up
An easy warm-up for women pre-workout is to simply do exercises you will be doing during your workout, but with much lighter weight. For example, if you were planning on doing the chest press machine during your workout at 50 pounds, set the machine to 20 pounds and do 10 slow repetitions as a warm-up. This will prepare your muscles specifically for what lies ahead. Make sure to choose a weight that is less than 50 percent of your workout weight for each exercise. Complete these repetitions very slowly to allow the muscles to warm up.
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Scotty Brunning is a Chicago-based health and fitness writer. Having worked with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas, he has a plethora of fitness experience. He is an ACSM-certified health fitness specialist and a Cooper Institute master fitness specialist. Brunning holds a master's degree in health and fitness.