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Time Out: How to Warm Up Muscles Safely & Effectively

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Have you ever been taught how to warm up muscles before you stretch? No matter what variety of martial arts you practice at home, it’s really important to start with a good warm-up. Warming up the body before doing any kind of physical activity not only prepares it for the more complex and demanding martial arts movements, so you can have more power, control, and fluidity, but even more importantly it helps reduce the chances of injury by ensuring that your muscles are ready for the demands of your class.

Contents on this page:
Early Bird? Morning People Need More Warm Up Time
Walk This Way
Run, Run, Run? Alternating your Martial Arts class with Other Exercise to Avoid Injury
Take Good Care: Give Weak Spots Extra TLC
Resist Temptation: Don’t Skimp On the Warm-Up

There are a number of things to keep in mind when warming up before a martial arts class. Read on for our top tips!

Early Bird? Morning People Need More Warm Up Time

If you’re just getting up in the morning and want to get right to your practice, then you’ll need to be very intentional about your warm-up. Our bodies naturally loosen and our muscles engage as we move through the day, so even if most of your day is spent in front of the computer, you’ll be a lot more flexible and ready for a class then.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t practice in the morning, but it does mean that we’re all quite a bit tighter first thing in the morning! So for an early practice, you’ll need to give those muscles a little more attention, start out a bit slower and go through a few more repetitions of each exercise. This means a longer warm-up that slowly builds. And listen to your body the whole time—if something feels tight, stretch it a few extra seconds; if something hurts, don’t push it.

At the Boston School of Boabom, we teach a specific sequence of warm-up movements called Jassu, which is adaptable to any person, at any level and any time of day. We warm up everything, from our fingers and toes to our eyes and even our facial muscles. Our bodies are an amazing whole, and it’s important to work with all of its parts. Reach out if you’d like to learn more.

Walk This Way

Humans are built to move. Something as simple as walking is actually a great way to warm up your big muscles, get your blood flowing, and loosen yourself up. If you’re practicing in the morning, taking a quick walk around the neighborhood or even around your home is a great way to start the warm-up process; you’ll find that even just 10 or 20 minutes will make make a big difference with the effectiveness of your warm up. And if you’ve been walking through the day, even just a little, you’ll find that your body will warm up more quickly.

Run, Run, Run? Alternating your Martial Arts class with Other Exercise to Avoid Injury

Running, on the other hand, is not as useful of a warm-up. It’s great for conditioning, but you should always take care of your form and make sure not to over do it—when we repeat the same movements many times, as we get tired and push ourselves we can increase the likelihood of injury. Generally, if you like to run, go to the gym, or do some other kind of workout, it is best to do that on days when you are not practicing your martial arts class. Just like with workouts in general, it’s best to do one kind of exercise one day, and another the next. And always rest from strenuous exercise for a day or two each week.

Running and similar strenuous activity generally do not provide the best warm-up for a martial arts class. Because this warm-up isn’t just about getting the heart pumping—it’s much more about getting your muscles and joints ready for the intense and precise movements. Jassu, the Boabom system of warm-ups, can be strenuous but is always diverse, alternating between faster and slower movements while moving through the zones of the body and not over- or under-emphasizing any one group of muscles. Through a few repetitions of a variety of different warm-ups, we prepare the whole body to work at a higher level.

Take Good Care: Give Weak Spots Extra TLC

It is also very important to know your own personal weak points. If you’re prone to a stiff back or if you’ve previously injured a knee or another part of your body, you need to warm it up, but it’s important to be gentle and listen to your body. Increasing intensity too quickly can increase the likelihood of injury. So if you have a weak area, make sure that you ease into warming it up, starting with a less intense version of the exercise. All of our teachers at the Boston School of Boabom have studied how to vary and adapt these warm-ups to the needs of different individuals. We explain different ways to do the warm ups, as well as how to vary their speed and intensity, so each of us has the best possible effect.

Resist Temptation: Don’t Skimp On the Warm-Up

If you’re ever tempted to skip a warm-up to save time, don’t! It’s best to wait until you can devote more time to the class, or if you really need to do a short class, do a warm-up and practice fewer movements. Injuries are no fun, and they’ll slow down your practice a lot more than missing one class.

Remember that warming up is about preventing injury, but it’s also about maximizing your performance during your practice. You want to be able to feel the full extension of your movements and maximize your strength. The goal of a warm-up should be to do both of those.

Stretching is important for everyone. When we don’t stretch enough, we lose our flexibility. When we lose our flexibility, we increase our chances of injury. Stretching as we’re warming up the muscles can be a really effective way of increasing our flexibility.

So always warm up your body to get the most out of your martial arts class!

If you’d like to learn more about Boabom, and specifically about Jassu, our unique system of warm-ups, please reach out!

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