A primary consideration before each workout should be warming up. A good warm-up raises core body temperature, improves your mood, and boosts your performance (1). The performance boost is that warming up allows vital enzymes involved in energy production to work optimally. Warming up well can also reduce your risk of injury and get you into a training mindset, both of which play an essential role in gym longevity (2). Since you’re training your entire body, you should warm up every major muscle group before doing a 5×5 or Madcow 5×5 workout. Specifically, you need to warm up your back, chest, shoulders, triceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves through a combination of cardio and stretching.
You can use every cardio machine in your gym: the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, Stairmaster, or even a rowing machine. The goal is to do it with low intensity for no longer than five to ten minutes. In doing so, you warm up your body without causing fatigue that can hinder your performance.
- Side-to-side leg swings:
Hold onto something for balance and begin to swing one leg in and out to your side. Do smooth repetitions to prevent an adductor pull. Do ten to fifteen reps, then switch to the other leg. Lateral leg swings are fantastic for opening up your hips and warming up your leg muscles.
- Deep squat holds:
To do a deep squat, hold, descend into a squat with your heels planted on the floor and hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Deep squat holds are great for stretching your inner thigh muscles and opening up your hips for squats, bench press, and deadlift.
- Seated twists:
Sit on a gym bench or the floor and rotate your torso to the right while keeping your hips facing forward. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds, then turn to the opposite side and hold again. Seated twists are a fantastic movement for stretching and engaging your upper back. The stretch is also great for engaging your core musculature.
Grab a resistance band or PVC pipe with an overhand grip. Have your hands wider than shoulder level with the band or pipe resting on your upper thighs. Move the band up, over your head, and behind your body without bending your elbows. Bring the band up and in front of your body. Keep passing through for ten to fifteen repetitions. Pass-throughs are a fantastic dynamic stretch for your shoulders and allow you to warm up nicely for bench and overhead pressing.
Warming up well before doing the 5×5 workout exercises is one of the best things you can do to improve your performance, feel better, and remain injury-free.
Taking as little as ten minutes to warm up can boost your mood, get you in the mindset for training, and allow your body to produce energy optimally. A good warm-up also prepares your joints, muscles, and connective tissues, allowing them to absorb the training stress and stay healthy.