Stretching is necessary for your body to recover and gain full range of motion and not just because it feels good. However, many people wrongly believe that they should stretch before a workout. Stretching your muscles before workout can put unnecessary pressure on them and affect their ability to contract. Experts say that if you stretch before weight training, you may end up feeling weaker and unstable. Scientists recommend that it is always better to warm up before the workout, especially the muscles you are targeting today.
Since cross trainer is a full body exercise and this is why it is important that you warm all the major muscle groups before you start exercising. When you warm up the right way, your body feels better and more prepared for what is to come. It helps in increasing the muscle temperature as well as stamina, helping you to perform better on the elliptical machine. It also works you up mentally by increasing your motivation.
Here are some of the best warmup tips if you are preparing yourself for a cross trainer workout.
Start with dynamic warmup
The idea behind warming up is to elevate your heart rate a little and increase your body temperature. It also relaxes your muscles as it gets ready for the workout. After warmup, your body is able to perform to the best of its ability because your muscles are ready for the hard work. The best exercises to get your heart rate going includes jumping jacks, legs swings, hip rotations, body weight squats, press ups etc. These exercises will work every major muscle group and get you ready for the elliptical.
Allow at least 5-minutes to warm up
While there is no magic number that says how much is too much, you need to allow your body at least 5 –minutes of warmup time before you hop on the elliptical machine. Remember that as you get fitter, you will need longer time to get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles. However, the rule of thumb says that minimum 5 minutes is a must.
Always start slowly
It is very risky to do too much too quickly. You need to allow your body to naturally loosen up and your heart rate should increase gradually.
Recruit the targeted muscle groups
It is important to especially warm the targeted muscles for an effective workout. For instance, since you are going to be training on the elliptical machine, it is crucial to work all the muscles your body. Find a balance between upper body exercises with lower body along with arm rotations, squats, bench press etc.
Don’t forget to cool down
If warming up is a fitness necessity, so is cooling down. Stretching is necessary to send the blood back to your muscles that will help you in proper and quick recovery. The idea is to not feel stiff, even after doing the hardest work. Warm down essentially means lowering down your heart rate. When you are on a cross trainer and you want to bring your heart rate down, start with decreasing the resistance and allow yourself to breathe deeply and slowly. Once you have reached a normal heart rate level, get off the machine and perform some static stretching exercises. Wall straight leg calf stretch, toe grab, abdominal stretch, chest stretch etc.