What Is Light Cardio Warm Up?
Light Cardio Warm Up (or LCLW) is a type of exercise that helps your body to recover from the strenuous physical activity. You may think that it’s not necessary but you are wrong! There are many studies which show how beneficial light cardio can be for your health. It improves your cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure, increases circulation and reduces stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
The benefits of light cardio include:
Increased oxygen consumption during high intensity activities. Increased endurance and reduced fatigue. Improved muscle recovery after training. Reduced risk of injury due to improved blood flow to muscles.
Better coordination and balance when performing sports or other vigorous activities such as running, cycling, rowing etc. Decreased risk of falls and injuries related to poor posture or tiredness caused by lack of sleep or overtraining (i.e., “runner’s knee”).
How To Do Light Cardio Warm Up Exercise?
There are several ways to do light cardio. Some of them include:
Bicycling – Cycling is one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise. You can cycle at a moderate pace for 30 minutes, faster than that for 45 minutes, or even longer if you want to go beyond your limits.
Rowing – Rowing is another great cardio exercise which uses almost every muscle in your body. If you are new to rowing then start with 1,5-2 hours sessions. Increase your sessions gradually as your stamina improves.
Running – Running is the most natural form of aerobic exercise. It’s free and it can be done anywhere in the world, all you need is a pair of shoes. Start your running session with a 10-15 minutes warmup followed by running at an average pace for half an hour, faster than that for up to 40 minutes or longer if you want.
Light Jogging – Light jogging is also a good way to do warm up. The pace should be slightly faster than your regular walking pace. Keep the jogging sessions short, around 15-20 minutes only.
Swimming – Swimming is another excellent form of aerobic exercise. It’s a bit difficult for a beginner to start with swimming since the water environment makes you feel tired fast. However, with regular practice you’ll be able to swim for up to one hour easily.
Benefits of Light Cardio Warm Up Workout
There are many benefits of light cardio for your body. The major ones are listed below:
Helps to transport oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Plays a vital role in the removal of waste products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid from your muscles. Increases your body temperature thus preparing your muscles for an intense workout. Improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the muscles when doing strength training exercises.
How Long Should Light Cardio Warm Up Be?
As the name suggests, light cardio should only be used as a warm up routine before doing strenuous exercises like heavy lifting. If you are a beginner, it’s advised that you start with 15-20 minutes of light cardio and increase the duration as your stamina improves.
You can also use light cardio as a supplement to your main workout (i.e., strength training exercises) for added benefits.
What Is The Best Music For Light Cardio Warm Up?
Personally I like listening to rock music while working out. Usually when I’m doing my warm up session before strength training, I listen to music with a beat that is fast enough to raise my heartbeat a bit.
However, you can also use music with a slow beat and raise the volume of your music player to keep the same fast beat. It’s a matter of personal preference really.
When listening to music while working out, I like listening to music by Linkin Park, Hoobastank, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Eyed Peas, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 to name a few.
What Should You Wear For Light Cardio Warm Up?
For warm up sessions, it is not necessary to wear clothes specifically designed for workouts. You can wear anything that you are comfortable in and allows you to move around easily. If you want to wear t-shirts and shorts, go ahead and wear them.
Personally I like wearing compression shorts and a moisture wicking t-shirt when doing warm up sessions or other easy aerobic exercises. Compression shorts help me to go running longer, as they prevent soreness in my legs. A moisture wicking t-shirt helps to keep me dry and comfortable as well.
How To Do Light Cardio Warm Up?
Before starting any light cardio warm up routine, you have to make sure that you are warmed up properly. Otherwise, you will not reap the full benefits of a proper warm up and you might even injure yourself.
A proper warm up should start with 5-10 minutes of low intensity cardio such as walking or easy jogging. This gets your blood flowing and prepares your muscles for the coming workout.
After this initial low intensity cardio warm up, you can start your light cardio routine. To perform a light cardio routine, all you have to do is pick an aerobic exercise from the list below and repeat it for 15-20 minutes.
Aerobic Exercises For Warm Up
Jogging (at least 5 minutes)
Bike Riding (at least 5 minutes)
Swimming (at least 5 minutes)
Elliptical Training (at least 5 minutes)
Stair Climbing Machine (at least 5 minutes)
Treadmill (at least 5 minutes)
What Should You Take Note Of?
During a light cardio warm up, you should take note that your heart is beating and your breathing is slightly elevated. It should not feel like you’re having a heart attack or cannot catch your breath. If it does, then you are pushing yourself too hard and need to slow down your pace.
You should also take note that you are able to speak in complete sentences during your light cardio warm up routine. If you find that you are short of breath and cannot speak properly when doing your light routine, then you need to slow down the pace.
If you follow the above guidelines while doing a light cardio warm up, then you will definitely reap the health benefits they have to offer.
Light Cardio Warm Up Tips
Warm up before and stretch after every workout.
For best results, combine your warm up and cool down with proper stretching. If you’re not familiar with the importance of stretching, read this article first: “Why Stretching Is Essential For Athletes”.
Make sure you warm up sufficiently. The last thing you want is to pull a muscle during your actual routine because you decided to skip the warm up.
Spend at least 5-10 minutes on low intensity cardio and another 5-10 minutes on light intensity aerobic activity. This will get the blood flowing to your muscles, preventing any injury and preparing you for the heavy lifting that’s to come.
Stretch after every warm up routine and workout. This helps increase flexibility and decreases the chances of injury occurring. Remember to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. If you’re not familiar with the importance of stretching, read this article: “Why Stretching Is Essential For Athletes”.
Stay away from the heavy weights until your body is ready. This means no sprinting into your workouts or trying to lift one more rep or two more pounds than you’re supposed to. Be patient and take things slow in the beginning. You can increase the weight, reps or sets once your muscles are warmed up and ready.
Warm Up Routine Guidelines
Your warm up routine is the perfect time to go over what you will be doing during your lifting session. Think of it as preparation for the major event. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
Go through the exercises that you will be doing. While you’re doing this, spend extra time on any trouble spots that you may have. For instance, if your bench press is weak, spend extra time on chest exercises.
Spend extra time with the weight you will be using for each exercise. If you’re doing squats, spend some time with a barbell in your hands. If you’re going to be deadlifting, practice the motion with an empty bar or even broomstick. Get a feel for the movement and prepare your body for the heavy load that’s to come.
Remember to stick with the proper form. This should go without saying, but you definitely don’t want to be reforming your technique during your actual routine.
Remember, the warm up is not a time to push yourself. You should never feel weak, tired or out of breath. If you do, slow things down a bit. This is supposed to get you ready, not leave you feeling exhausted!
Perform your warm up routine at least once before starting your lifting session. If you’ve gone through a grueling workout the day before, you may need to do it twice.
If you have used your warm up routine correctly, you should now find that you’re able to perform each exercise more smoothly, with better range of motion and more weight. You should also feel less tired and more energetic as opposed to winded and tired from your warm up!
Cool Down and Stretch
Once you’ve finished your last rep, it’s time to cool down. This will help bring your heart rate back down to normal and get rid of any lactic acid that has built up in your muscles. You should also perform some static stretches to help increase flexibility and decrease muscle soreness.
During your cool down, go through the exercises that you just completed. Do them slowly with very little effort. As your heart rate goes down, you’ll find that you’ll be able to go just a bit further than before. This is good!
It means that your body is learning to handle more stress. As it continues to adapt, it will grow stronger and fitter.
The cool down is also a good time to practice your technique. Since you haven’t been using all out effort during this session, you can really pay attention to the way you are performing each exercise. This will help you correct any problems with form and prepare you for next time.
Static stretches should be held for at least 15-30 seconds and repeated twice on each side (or however your particular stretch tells you to do it). You can also hold some for a full minute if you have the time and patience. Make sure to hold the stretches for at least 10 seconds before moving on to the next one.
Finish with a full body stretch to really increase flexibility. Here are a few examples:
Done properly, these cool down and stretching exercises will bring an end to your weight lifting routine. You can then reward yourself for a job well done with some extra time spent on other activities. Go out and enjoy some fresh air or a good book. Do whatever it is that you like to do.
Your muscles will feel the benefits of this healthy activity all throughout the week!
Remember to start each week off with a new warm up session. This is especially important if you’ve been slacking off and not working out at all. Your body will be extremely out of shape and you’ll need to spend extra time preparing it for the regular lifting session.
If you’re not using weights that are heavy enough, or if you’re just generally unable to complete the routine as described above, try increasing the amount of weight that you lift or push. If you start to feel like you’re not getting stronger and seeing enough improvement, increase the weight again. Also, make sure that you’re only working out each body part once every five to seven days. This will give your muscles time to rest so that they can grow back stronger.
If you have any questions or concerns about this routine, speak with a professional fitness instructor in your area. There’s nothing wrong with getting a second opinion on your routines to make sure that you’re doing everything correctly.
By following the guidelines and suggestions above, you’ll be well on your way to a fit and healthy lifestyle! Everyone at your gym will be so jealous when they see how ripped you’re getting that they’ll all want to talk to you. Be friendly, but don’t let them distract you from your own workout!
Remember that the most important thing is to have fun. Fitness should be enjoyable and if it stops being that way for you, then you probably need to change something about it. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way for all of your hard work!
If you’re someone that’s extremely out of shape and have never really worked out before, you might find this routine to be a bit too challenging at first. If this is the case, just work your way up to it by slowly increasing the amount of reps that you do.
This might take longer, but the important thing is that you don’t get hurt in the process of trying to get in better shape. Go at your own pace and you should see results eventually. You can always try to increase the weight after you feel comfortable with the amount of repetitions that you’re currently doing.
The best thing about this routine is that it can be molded and customized to fit your own personal situation. It’s designed to get you in top physical condition fast so that you’ll be able to do the activities that you want to do when you want to do them. Have fun with this and remember to take care of your body so that it’ll take care of you for many years to come.
Sources & references used in this article:
A comparison of two warm-ups on joint range of motion by BB Beedle, CL Mann – … of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2007 – search.proquest.com
A good gym warm up by P Attard
Warming Up For The Warm-Up: A Case For Cardio Before Scales by D Rockman – rockmanfitness.com
Strength training: A bridge to independence for the elderly by A Mayon – MTNA e-Journal, 2017 – search.proquest.com