Are You POSITIVE You're Warming Up Correctly?

We all generally know the do’s and don’ts of warming up and cooling down: don’t dance cold. Wear layers to help acclimate your muscles. Don’t rely on barre to get you completely warm. Ice constricts, heat expands. Therabands, foam rollers, tennis balls--we know the drill.

But, when it comes to warming up, there are so many nuances that we don’t pay attention to. For example: did you know that, for some, using a foam roller BEFORE being fully warm is actually a horrible idea? It can apply unnecessary pressure, and doesn’t allow you to take advantage of your body’s already elongated muscles.

Here are four other key things to remember about stretching, warming up and cooling down that could change the way you treat your body:

  • Pay attention to whether it feels like a stretch, or it just feels like pain.
  • It’s always good to push your limits, but there’s a really thin line between a great stretch and a pulled muscle.

  • You can’t stretch bone structure.
  • There are stretches you can do to make your ankles more flexible and improve extension, but things like turnout and arch height are fixed in a lot of ways. You can’t dislocate your hips for the sake of stretching--it will only do more harm than good!

  • If you feel cold, you probably still are.
  • Make sure you’re giving yourself PLENTY of warm-up time. Getting on stage to do a performance when your body isn’t completely ready is dangerous. You may be able to get away with it sometimes, but over time it will impede your performance.
    Just because they’re popular, doesn’t mean ice baths will definitely work for you. 
    Remember, heat expands and cold constricts. The occasional ice bath can help reduce inflammation, but doing them too often can cause you to tighten up. Plus -- studies have shown that they might not even be THAT good for you.

    So remember: YOUR BODY is YOURS. Treat it like your temple. Go to the doctor. Work smart. Career longevity is the goal; don’t sacrifice it for just one day.
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