It’s easy to ignore or put off warm-ups and cool-downs when training calisthenics. For many, spending time on this as opposed to strength training seems like a waste. It’s better to spend as much time as you can building muscle, right? You don’t feel stiff or have any niggling muscle aches anyway, so why bother?

Beginners often have this attitude. But ask any expert and they will tell you that to achieve success you must integrate warm-ups and cool-downs into your exercise routine.

You might get away without doing this for a while, but the only way you will achieve the success you are aiming for, is by creating a sustainable workout routine which includes these key ingredients.

For any calisthenics routine to be sustainable it must include cardio, stretching and mobility work because if it doesn’t, sooner or later you will probably get injured or hit a plateau in your progress.

What to do and When

To achieve best results, you should have a short warm-up before and stretch after you workouts. However, never stretch cold muscles, so before a pre-workout stretch it’s critical that you first warm up your body. This can be as simple as jogging on the spot for 2-3 minutes, as long as you warm those muscles up. Other quick warm ups include:

• Shadow boxing
• Skipping
• Light joging

Doing this before a workout warms and loosens up your joints and muscles, decreasing your chances of triggering an injury.

Once you have finished with your workout, make sure you spend enough time stretching each muscle group. This will again loosen up your muscles, preventing injury. Other benefits of post-workout stretching include:

• It promotes the circulation of blood to and around you muscles. This in turn brings increased oxygen and other nutrients which help heal and replenish your muscles
• It decrease post-workout soreness
• It decreases recovery time so that you can work out again sooner
• It increases flexibility which lowers the risk of long term injury

Muscles Are Not Everything. Don’t Forget To Work Your Joints!

A common misconception among beginners is that you only have to work your muscles. This is wrong, and especially so when it comes to calisthenics. Being a form of exercise which uses motor movements and bodyweight resistance, having nimble and loose joints is extremely important.

This means you must include joint movements into your stretching routine. A simple rotating and side to side action for each area will be sufficient to get started with. Just make sure that you are careful and don’t over twist any joint.

So, it need only add an extra 10 minutes onto your workout, and with such huge benefits there really is no reason not to include warm-ups and cool-downs in your routine from now on!