By: Dr. Noah Shrago (PT, DPT)

Before exercising, it is important to get your body ready for the activity you’re about to do. Proper movement preparation is crucial for preventing injury and getting the most from your activity.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about how to properly prepare your body for workouts — thus, you’ve probably been doing it wrong. Simply “warming up” is not always enough.

In this blog, we’ll help you understand the best way to properly prepare your body for exercise.

What’s the Difference Between Warming Up and Priming?

Warming Up

This can be defined as performing light physical activity before your more intense activity, such as jogging before you run. As the name implies, “warming up” gets you warm — you may break a light sweat or get your heart rate up — and helps you get in the right mindset to work out or play in a game. Unfortunately, traditional warm-ups don’t get your body prepared to move correctly. This is where priming comes in.

Priming

Priming is targeted movement prep that enables you to perform your exercises more effectively, translating to better results. Regardless of your particular goal when preparing for movement, priming helps you move more effectively. Proper movement patterns and intent will help you prevent injury, improve strength, build more muscle (where you want to), and both prevent and rehab from injury.

The Importance of Priming

Neuromuscular reeducation, or retraining how you move, is fundamental to many physical therapy interventions. Simply warming up might make you feel ready to exercise, but you will likely revert to your default movement pattern. This pattern may not be optimal and can often contribute to pain or limit performance. Priming can help you learn a new movement strategy and then strengthen it through exercise, leading to improved performance and less pain.

For instance, many people struggle to engage their glutes during a squat, which can cause knee pain, limit strength, and hinder balanced muscle development. A standard warm-up with cardiovascular activity, stretching, or lighter squats won’t fix this issue, so you’ll continue to over-rely on your quads and face the same problems.

Proper glute priming activities before your workout can help you use your glutes more effectively while squatting, reducing knee strain and improving your physique. An effective strategy is to use an isolation exercise like a bridge to activate your glutes so you can engage them better during squats.

At Herlong Sports PT, our physical therapists can develop a customized priming routine for you. This routine will help you get the most out of your exercise, target strength deficits, reduce pain, and improve movement and performance.

Physical Therapists in Maryland

Are you experiencing pain or suffering from a recent injury? Herlong Sports Physical Therapy is here to help – with an expert team of doctors of physical therapy, we’ll assess your ailment and put together a comprehensive plan to get you back to performing at your best. Through movement retraining, we’ll help you tackle the root cause of your injury to reduce the likelihood of it recurring.

We are in network with all major insurance plans including Medicare and Medicaid. If you’re interested in getting started, contact us today – no doctor’s referral required!

Maryland

Williamsport

10312 Governor Lane Boulevard #5007
Williamsport, MD 21795

Located inside of TrueAP

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Maryland

Eldersburg

1438 Liberty Rd, STE 10A
Eldersburg, MD 21784

Located inside of MadLab Performance

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Maryland

Marriottsville

2470 Longstone Ln, STE A
Marriottsville, MD 21104

Located inside of Campanaro Strength & Conditioning

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Maryland

Clarksville

12447 Clarksville Pike
Clarksville, MD 21029

Located inside of Campanaro Strength & Conditioning

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