As the name states, a warm up exercise needs to be done before performing abdominal workouts in order to serve as a pre-condition to the body before engaging in physical activity. Obviously, the formation of six pack abs will not happen without performing abdominal workouts and the quintessential abdominal workout is not complete without a warm up exercise and a cool down exercise.
First, let’s talk about the warm up exercise. A proper warm up exercise is crucial to perform before physical activity as this is the time that you are able to prepare both physically and mentally for the abdominal workout. A warm up exercise is essential as preparation of the body for the demands of conditioning is essential in improving performance as well as decreasing the risk of injury during the abdominal workout.
How do you know if a warm up exercise is successful and properly executed? A successful and properly executed warm up exercise should be able to produce an increased heart rate, blood flow, internal temperature of the muscles, respiration rate and perspiration. The ideal type of warm up exercise prior to abdominal workouts is the type that lets your abdominal muscles prepare for what is about to come. This is also important as it lessens the risk of injury during the actual abdominal workout.
When it comes to a time frame, eight to twelve minutes is sufficient for engaging in a proper warm up exercise. These can include lifts, jogging, stretching exercises, and drills. During the warm up exercise, it is important to keep in mind that the intensity of the exercises should be gradual in progression as engaging in vigorous exercise without warning the body beforehand can result in fatigue or a sudden drain in energy levels.
With regard to cool down exercises, it is important to engage in them after abdominal workouts as the workout has a significant impact on the musculoskeletal, immune, metabolic and nervous systems. It is critical to do cool down exercises as they play a crucial and irreplaceable role in reducing muscle soreness, decrements in power, speed, agility and mobility.
There are many different types of cool down exercises that you can choose to do after your abdominal workout. These include standing gastrocnemius and soleus stretch, standing partner chest stretch, kneeling hip flexor stretch, kneeling latissimus and back stretch, lying knee to chest stretch, and many more. Save for the kneeling latissimus and back stretch, all of these cool down exercises require 2 x 5 breaths for each leg. The kneeling latissimus and back stretch should use 3 x 3 breaths.
Cool down exercises are also important as they lower the heart rate gradually enough so that blood does not accumulate in the muscles. Other benefits of cool down exercises include reduced potential for DOMS, aid in dissipating waste products, reduced chances of experiencing fainting or dizziness after the abdominal workout, reduced adrenaline levels, and they provide a chance for the heart rate to return to its normal rate.
It is critical not to rush cool down exercises but rather, to do them slowly and thoroughly. Cool down exercises can be performed in at least five to ten minutes.
Stretching exercises are often a part of the cool down as they are very helpful in the prevention of injury. Other cool down exercises aside from the ones mentioned above include calf –raise down and the lower back stretch.
Now that you are aware of the importance, benefits and various types of warm up and cool down exercises that you can perform, do not neglect to do them before and after your abdominal workout!