Author: Jim Bruskewitz
What is it about exercise? Why do we forgo many of life’s other pleasures to workout? It feels good! Maybe we sacrifice a whole bunch of life’s other pleasures for years to reach a goal, but I doubt we’d even imagine that goal if the exercise didn’t feel great at some point along the way. Today I had a good early morning run before sitting down to write this. What about it was good? It FELT good. Bad workouts and races generally go hand in hand with feeling bad. Drawing on personal experience, I’d say we keep up a regular training schedule in search of another workout that feels great. Maybe success could be measured by the number of workouts that feel great in a month or a season.
So why did my run feel good today? For a lot of reasons no doubt, but I know why the first couple of miles felt better than they might otherwise have felt. I got a terrific warm-up and I used my Globus EMS unit to do it. I don’t do this before absolutely every run. Maybe that’s why I can say that this run felt better than the other runs that weren’t preceded by a Globus EMS warm-up. I have a more traditional warm-up routine prescribed by a talented athletic trainer I work with. That warm-up makes me feel better. However, if I have my Globus unit on hand, I choose to warm up with an Endurance Prep warm-up program because I feel better than I do when I warm-up in a traditional fashion.
I really appreciate the difference in the way I feel if I use the Globus EMS warmup before a cycling event too. I notice this most when I want to be “on” right out of the gate. Instead of waiting a few miles to adjust to the high output when the race starts, I’m ready to go right off the bat. The same can be said for a workout when I’m not in top form (usually from a hard workout the previous day). On one of those days when it normally would take 10 to 15 miles before my legs feel ready to go, the day turns into a ride where I can actually get some quality training out of those first 10 to 15. My time is spent more efficiently because my muscles are working more efficiently.
The physiology of a warm-up is well researched. There are a number of observed changes in the muscle that improve performance:
- A muscular contraction is a cascade of biochemical reactions. Each of the inter-dependent reactions will proceed at a faster rate if the temperature at which the reaction occurs is increased. Normally some blood is shunted away from a working muscle when it is inactive. Blood supply will increase when the muscle is active and this will increase the temperature of the muscle tissue. Expending energy for contracting muscle fibers also produces heat and additionally contributes to increasing the temperature of the muscle tissue.
- A muscle fiber is full of enzymes and organelles that make up a kind of soup. The mixture has colloidal properties and behaves like another familiar colloid, Jell-o. Mix the packet of Jell-o in water and put it in the refrigerator and it becomes a shimmering, jiggling semi-solid. Take this Jell-o out of the refrigerator and it will return to its liquid state after it has warmed. You can move a finger through the semi-solid Jell-o with a little effort. Moving your finger through the liquid form requires much less effort. A muscle is deformed when it contracts and bunches up. A warm muscle deforms with less effort sparing some of the work done to generate the desired force.
- The oxygen carrying molecules, hemoglobin and myoglobin, will give up their oxygen where needed more easily at higher temperatures. Aerobic energy delivery may proceed at a faster rate.
- Some muscle fibers are reluctant to contract. This is normal even if not desirable when there is work to be done. Some of this reluctance to contact is temporarily removed with a good warm-up. More muscle fibers are available to help develop the desired force from a muscular contraction.
Add up all of these warm-up adaptations and it is no wonder that you and I feel better when initiating a workout after a thorough warm-up.
Why use a Globus EMS warm-up program instead of a different method. There are advantages and disadvantages to traditional warm-up routines when compared to EMS warm-ups. Globus EMS has a variety of warm-up programs to choose from. The advantage is that we can warm-up specifically for different kinds of activity to follow. The different programs target different kinds of muscle fiber types. Simply ask yourself, is the planned activity going to use primarily slow twitch, endurance, or fast twitch, sprint, muscle fibers? The Globus EMS warm-up programs target these different muscle fiber types of your choosing. Which type of warm up do I prefer, Globus EMS or more traditional warm-ups? I like them both, but without question I feel better and “sizzle” more after a Globus EMS warm-up.
Jim is a multiple-time World and National Age Group Triathlon champion, a coach (www.enduranceperformance.com), and former lecturer at UW-Madison-Department of Kinesiology. He recently left teaching at UW to study and teach EMS training.