Fitness Advice & Exercise Ideas

Why You’re Probably Wasting Time on the Treadmill During Your Warm-Up

Your gym session does come down to what you enjoy doing as well as doing what makes you feel good. But, there’s a huge misconception that the only ‘warm-up’ you should do, is walk on the treadmill for 10-20 minutes.

Why You're Probably Wasting Time on the Treadmill at the Beginning of Your Session

Your gym session does come down to what you enjoy doing as well as doing what makes you feel good. But, there’s a huge misconception that the only ‘warm-up’ you should do, is walk on the treadmill for 10-20 minutes.

Why do so many people do this?

I feel like the fitness industry is to blame for this, not the individual, by any means.
I do remember from my personal training course that your practical session for your assessment involved a few stretches (of different types, static, dynamic, etc.) a warm up on a cardio machine, (a re-warm which no one really does unless you have watch an exercise demo for example) and then some cardio training of your choice.
Then you had to do some weight training exercises on machines and free weights comprising of a hell of a lot of variations (super-sets, giant sets, etc.) then maybe some accessory work and some more stretches.
This is the industry standard. What a lot of personal trainers fail to do is question WHY you do this. One guy on my course actually asked, “Why do you have to do that when you’d never structure a session like that?”
I feel like my tutors were really good given that they actually told us, “do this for the assessment and then forget everything you’ve been taught, and start learning again”.
Being in this industry, you should be continuously learning and educating yourself.

Back to warming up on a cardio machine

Now, there’s not a hard and fast rule to this, it is dependent on your training and time available.
But think about it, if you’ve just walked to the gym, then why are you spending even MORE time walking before your session? You might say that people who sit down all day and drive to the gym do need to do some walking, which I completely agree with, but in that instance, would 10-20 minutes of walking on a treadmill really make that much of a difference when you’ve got limited time in the gym?
If you have a good 90 minutes – 2 hours to train in, and you want to spend some of that time on a cardio machine to warm up, it’s not going to cut into your training time too much. So if you find it beneficial for you, then keep doing what you’re doing.
The problem I have is when people have 45-60 minutes in the gym, and spend a long time ‘warming up’ on a cardio machine, when they could be doing other things that will actually benefit their session.
What REALLY grinds my gears, is when a PT has you on the treadmill for 15 minutes or so at the beginning of your session. Someone is charging you to watch you walk on a treadmill. And you’re letting them.

Your warm up isn't the time to be focusing on flexibility

You want to be able to do the splits? Great, dedicate some time to doing stretches that would enable you to eventually do the splits in a completely separate session, or at least do it at the very on your regular training session.
Why not push it to the max at the beginning? Most types of exercise, HIIT, calisthenics, resistance machines, free-weights, circuit classes, requires TENSION in the body and as long as you’ve mobilised enough to be able to do these exercises more comfortably, then you’re good to go.

What consistutes as mobility work?

Any exercises or drills that will benefit your session. If you’re doing barbell back squats, then maybe do some squats with a kettlebell or a plate out in front of you.
Going to do some chin ups? Great, some resistance band pull downs should help ‘warm up’ those muscles before doing the actual exercise. Break it down, do what is RELEVANT to your training or at least to the session you’re about to do.
If you have any questions or requests feel free to get in touch whether it’s for some advice or demonstration videos! I’m here to help.

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By Kim

Hi, I'm Kim! I'm a Fitness & Nutrition Coach from the UK and owner of Barefaced Fitness.

I help women achieve their goals through effective training methods and creating healthy balanced diets. I offer a strong focus on strength, movement and simplified nutrition for a healthier lifestyle.