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5 things every workout should include

How many of these do you do (and skip) every time you train?

Image: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

DESPITE THE PLETHORA of information out there about training, fitness and exercise, many of us are still guilty of making a number of basic errors.

Warm-up

For time-pressed people, the warm-up is often the first thing to go. Too often, people arrive at the gym and hammer straight into high-intensity exercises. This is bad practice, potentially dangerous and even if it’s only for less than five minutes, an effective warm-up will enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.  To warm up the right way, perform 5-10 minutes of cardio (jog, rower, stationary bike, jump rope or jumping jacks etc), then some form of stretching.

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Core stability exercises

The core is often one of the most neglected parts of the body when it comes to training and exercise. A common trait is to squeeze in some exercises at the end of the session, if they are performed at all. It’s important to break this habit as a strong core is absolutely vital in developing better balance, force generation and stability of both the upper and lower body.

Thankfully, core exercises are easy to perform, that is, they don’t require much space and little or no equipment.

Warm-down

A cool-down is certainly not the highest priority for anyone going to the gym or training, why? Because it just feels like time wasted when you could be in the car going home cooling down there instead. Right? No. Time to change that. A proper warm-down flushes toxic by-products of hard training like lactic acid from the system. It reduces the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of blood at the extremities while it also allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate.

Break the routine

For most of us, our exercise follows a very repetitive routine. The same day, for the same amount of time, every day or week. Not only this, but often the same exercises. Nothing heavier, no more or less reps or sets. This is bad for many reasons, most importantly of which your body will stop progressing. Your body adapts to the conditions you subject it to. If you don’t constantly change up your workout then you cheat your body of opportunities to get more fit.

So, make sure that at least every two you weeks you change your routine. Try changing the types of exercises you are doing and playing with the amount of sets, reps, and weights you are lifting. Also, try adding new classes to your training. Break out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Flexibility

This maintains joint range of motion and reduces the risk of injury. Like the warm-up and cool down, it’s often overlooked but if you want to keep those muscles subtle, stretching and foam rolling must be implemented. Stretching can be done anywhere but we’d suggest for 10 minutes before and after training.

First published at 7.53am

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