This article looks at how to warm up for a HIIT workout and whether it is necessary or a waste of time.
With some forms of exercise, including walking and swimming, Warm Ups aren’t essential. This is because the activity is low-impact.
However, warming up pre-workout is essential for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and other exercises that place a lot of impact on the joints.
A Warm-Up improves blood circulation and loosens the muscles. It also boosts their oxygen supply, preparing them for the stress of an intense workout.
Along with readying your muscles, a Warm-Up will gradually increase your heart rate. But there’s no need to engage in long Warm Ups or static stretches for 15 or 20 minutes, as we were once advised.
Recent studies show that long Warm Ups can tire you before you start your workout. This is not ideal, as you won’t be able to put in as much effort.
Excessive stretching before exercise can also reduce the ability to exert maximum strength because your muscles will be too relaxed. And, leave those deadlifts for your workout! Such heavy moves will drain you before you start, so you won’t be able to put in the effort required to get the most benefit from your workout.
A three to five-minute Warm Up comprising dynamic stretches – stretches with movement – and a little light cardio is sufficient.
Please keep reading for some HIIT workout Warm Up tips. We will also look at cardio and dynamic stretches examples, and how to know when you are ready to begin your workout.
First, we will also look at the results of just three of many studies on the benefits of warming up before exercise.
Studies on the importance of Warming Up before exercise
One study on the role Warm Ups play in preventing sporting injuries found that muscles warmed before exercise increase in length and are more elastic and therefore less likely to tear.
A 2015 study demonstrated how the correct Warm Up has a marked positive effect on subsequent workout and sporting performance.
Another study focused on 44 males who were instructed to run on treadmills for 10 to 15 seconds with and without warming up first, with their heart rates monitored on an EEG.
When running without warming up, 70% of the participants had abnormal heart rate changes caused by decreased blood flow to their hearts.
When running after warming up for 2 minutes, the changes in their heart rates were less dramatic.
Next, we will look at some dynamic stretches examples.
Dynamic stretches examples
Dynamic stretches examples include small and large Arm Circles, (front to back) Leg Swings, and Lateral Leg Swings. Other examples are Push-Ups, Squats, and Lunges.
Target the muscle group or groups you will be focusing on during your workout. Hold each stretch for 2 to 3 seconds, doing 5 to 10 reps of each.
Not all dynamic stretches need to be done right before working out.
The lower back and hamstrings’ connective tissue can be tight and feel stiff, resulting in pain.
Doing back and hamstring stretches daily will improve your flexibility and ease tense muscles if you suffer from this.
Try Seated Forward Bends and Seated Torso Twists for your back. Toe Touches or Standing Hamstring Stretches will work well for the backs of your thighs. These can be done a few hours before your workout if desired.
Warm Up for a HIIT Workout Tips and Cardio Examples
If your exercise room is very cold, wear a few light layers of clothing rather than one thick layer. Doing this will enable you to remove a couple of layers when you are warm. Alternatively, turn on a heater. These are more effective options than longer Warm Ups, and more convenient if you are short on time.
As mentioned above, a 5-minute Dynamic stretching Warm Up that includes some light cardio is long enough to prepare your body for HIIT.
Stretching improves flexibility, and flexible people tend to suffer fewer cramps and workout-related injuries such as muscle tears.
Along with preparing you physically for the workout ahead, a Warm Up for HIIT will also prepare you mentally.
Examples of effective cardio Warm Ups for HIIT include jumping rope at a gentle pace or doing Jumping Jacks. Walking on a treadmill or using a rowing machine for a few minutes will also work well.
How to know you’ve warmed up sufficiently
After your Warm Up, your body should feel warm, and your muscles and joints should be able to move with a full range of motion easily.
By focusing on your workout and looking forward to it as something you are doing to improve your health, fitness, and appearance, you should also feel ready mentally.
Warm Up for a HIIT Workout Summary
A HIIT workout Warm Up is essential if you are to perform at your best. Long Warm-Ups are not necessary and can impact your workout negatively.
Dynamic stretching will improve your muscles’ elasticity, allowing them to lengthen and contract more easily, so you will be less prone to workout injuries.
Stretching also improves blood circulation, boosts oxygen levels, and helps to transport nutrients to the muscles. It is excellent for relieving muscle tension and. And, over time, it will improve your flexibility.
Adding some light cardio moves to your Warm Up will allow your heart rate to accelerate gradually and more safely.
When you finish your workout, slow the pace and intensity of your workout, and so some more muscle stretches to cool down.
Click here for a 5 Minute Office Workout comprising stretches that increase flexibility.
You may also like to read about how foam rolling exercises can improve your workouts.