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Dr. Karlfeldt discusses with Mike Hildebrandt, BS, CPT on the importance of warming up and cooling down before and after exercise.

Dr. Karlfeldt, ND, PhD: With me I have Mike Hildebrandt, Fitness Director of Axiom Fitness.

One of the things that sometimes people forget is the warm-up and the cool down. And they just seem to want to get in and just lift weights without considering the need for that.

Mike Hildebrandt, BS, CPT: Absolutely. There’s so many important aspects to a warm-up. Injury prevention is one. Making sure that you get yourself in the right mindset is another one. Warm up can play so many valuable parts in your exercise program.

So, what I always tell people: when you get to the gym, warming up does not mean that you go to the exercise that you want to do and you just do a lesser weight of it for more repetitions.

You really have to have some kind of cardiovascular warm-up. So whether it’s on a treadmill, an elliptical, a stationary bicycle, whether you walk to the gym … five to ten minutes is kind of that time frame, to actually start warming the body up. Literally warming the body up, you get the joints prepared for exercise, you get the muscles prepared for exercise, the heart starts going, the blood starts flowing. It’s so good for you just to get the cardiovascular training going. It doesn’t need to be real intense exercise. This is a low-to-moderate intensity exercise, for that portion of it.

Dr. K: Some people they get on the treadmill, then, for like 20-30 minutes and they just run … crazy people sometimes. And they don’t need to do that.

MH: No. And the key is just to give you enough. You know, just enough to get you warmed up. You don’t want to go exhaust yourself right before you do you weight training.

So do your five to ten minute cardiovascular warm up. And then what we call “active dynamic stretching”. And this is not your typical stretching where you hold for 30 – 45 seconds.

Dr. K: Okay.

MH: This is where you stretch while moving. A simple leg kick while laying on your back, and doing an active leg raise where you bring your leg up and down can be very important. Rotator cuff exercises, where maybe you get a cable and you work an external rotation.  These are very good ways to actively and dynamically warm-up.

And then following your workout, is where you want to do what we call “static-stretching”. And that’s your stretch and hold.

Dr. K: So that is when you put your arm against the wall, and just kind of hold it there for 30-40 seconds.

MH: Yes, exactly. And we leave it there for about 30 – 45 seconds, for your static-stretching. That seems to be what gets the job done. And you want to make sure, specifically, to stretch the muscle groups that you worked that day. That’s going to help with some of the lactic acid build-up, and the soreness that you might feel after that workout.

So the stretching afterwards. We don’t want to do that beforehand, because sometimes that can actually be detrimental to your workout.

Dr. K: Really?

MH: And it can hurt you. So static “stretching afterwards”, the “active dynamic” warm-up beforehand.

Dr. K: Perfect, thank you very much Mike!

Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash.