Warming up for weight training
Different styles of training may be better suited to different warm-up routines. A general rule of thumb for warming up on weight training days, is to make your warm-up routine specific to your training day. You may try to warm up for the specific routine and exercises that you are about to perform.
There are two main objectives of a warm up. The first is to bring the body temperature up and initiate the metabolic processes that are relevant for the exercise. An example of how you could do this is to do cardio exercise, like 10-15 minutes on the treadmill or x-trainer to increase your body temperature and your basic metabolic processes. But most importantly, what you want to do is make sure that your joints are warm including all the connective tissue like ligaments, tendons, priming the body for weight training.
The second objective of a warm-up is to prepare your body and mind for heavy loading in a particular position, this will also help with central nervous system (CNS) training and allow for better form and execution when you are ready to add more load. If for example you are warming up for heavy squats, you would start with bodyweight squats or squats with the bar and then gradually increase weight to build up to your first working set. Dynamic stretching before working out is also great to activate and stretch the relevant muscles. Begin with dynamically stretch the legs and then move into practicing the movement with light weight.
Cooling down after weight training
After a training session when the muscles are warm is the ideal time to perform static stretches. This will help to facilitate recovery and prevent muscle soreness. After a heavy leg session you would perform static stretches for the muscles worked such as the quads, hamstrings and calves. This will help to flush the lactic acid that has accumulated in the muscles, enhancing recovery for your next session.
Yours in health,
Clean Health Fitness Institute