Warming up always seems like it adds time I don’t have to my workouts. So I go into it with a slightly jaundiced attitude. This despite that I’ve seen over the years that stretching absolutely helps me continue to progress without injury in meeting my workout goals.
I am old enough to remember when static stretching was practiced. But even as far back as the 1980’s we knew that ballistic stretching was a bad thing. What was promoted at the time was stretches you held for 30 seconds or longer. You can now buy the 30th Anniversary edition of Bob Anderson’s classic book that was the bible on this topic.
The most useful innovation I’ve encountered regarding warming up is the concept of dynamic stretching. Frankly, it looks funny but it seems to work. The chief promulgators of this that have impressed me are Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson who market their knowledge via the Magnificent Mobility website. To me a longtime hobbyist and layperson, they really seem to know what they’re talking about. Most of their information is available via subscription but there is also free information under the heading “dynamic stretching” on You Tube including warm up routines specific to different kinds of training. The website Sports Fitness Advisor has a simple set of exercises with handy moving diagrams.
The point of this type of stretching is that it is done through movement. Rather than just being stretches, dynamic stretches are themselves exercises that not only contribute to mobility but also begin warming up the body in advance of working out. At least six different stretches should form the start of your workout and become an integral part your exercise program each time you hit the gym