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The Power of a Warm-Up


It’s the age-old introduction any trainer or coach has with their clients: “OK, but let’s warm-up first.” The concept of warming up the body prior to working out, going for a run or playing a sport has been around forever, but most clients may not be aware of the full benefits of a warm-up.

Warming up the body prior to exercise has many positive benefits that not only affect performance level during activity but can also decrease the risk of injury. A well designed warm-up session will help wake up your central nervous system, increase blood flow and support movement patterns that will be called upon during the workout. In the latter part of 2020, as members begin to return to the health club setting — oftentimes after months of infrequent activity — a warm-up has the potential to be even more important in terms of improving their overall experience.

So, what exactly does it mean to “warm up?” Some people think a 10-minute jog or series of static stretches is all you need to do to prepare your body for a workout. Although these components have benefits, current research shows just doing static stretches prior to a workout may not be optimal3. Instead, using tools such as a vibrating foam roller or percussive massage therapy device to increase blood flow, improve range of motion, and decrease any existing tension or discomfort can be a great place to start1,2,4,5. This method has also been proven to lower the potential risk of soreness felt after a workout when incorporated into a warm-up routine. From there, the next part of the warm-up should involve dynamic movements and exercises that are chosen based on the member’s physical capabilities and the planned exercises for their workout.

What about incorporating CBD into a warm-up? Emerging interest and research around cannabidiol — most commonly known as CBD — continues to support a variety of benefits when being incorporated into any warm-up. People of various cultures have relied on hemp, and specifically CBD, for its many healing properties. CBD interacts with receptors found throughout the body and brain, in a system called the endocannabinoid system. CBD not only helps balance the endocannabinoid system, but also helps by optimizing your day-to-day functioning. It can result in reducing inflammation, improving circulation and alleviating muscle soreness, which are extremely beneficial to include in a member’s warm-up experience. The combination of including percussive massage therapy with CBD into a member’s warm-up is one of the most innovative and effective combinations of tools we’ve seen in our industry in some time.

Examples of how your training staff can incorporate all three tools together include:

  • CBD lotion or balm: target muscle groups that will be used during the workout.
  • Dynamic stretches: focus on the stretch that will support the movement patterns associated with the member workout. 

1. Behm, D. G., & Wilke, J. (2019). Do Self-Myofascial Release Devices Release Myofascia? Rolling Mechanisms: A Narrative Review. Sports Med.

2. Issurin, V. B. (2005). Vibrations and their applications in sport. A review J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 45(3), 324-36.

3. Kay, A. D., & Blazevich, A. J. (2012). Effect of acute static stretch on maximal muscle performance: a systematic review. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 44(1), 154–164. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e318225cb27

4. Macaulay, T.R., Ramirez, J.E., Choi, J., Jones, M., Schroeder, E.T. (2019). Blood flow response and changes in fluid distributions after percussive massage therapy. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. S226 Vol. 49 No. 5 Supplement.

5. Virginia, J., Aquino, M., Wygand, J., Diaz, J., Petrizzo, J., Mullin, R., Spor, C., Byrne, P., Otto, R. (2020). The Effect of Percussive Massage or Foam Roller Aided Warmup on Wingate Power Test Performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, S226 Vol. 52 No. 5 Supplement.

Paul Cauldwell

Paul Cauldwell is the vice president of development at Therabody. More information can be found at therabody.com.

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