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The Importance of Warm-up and Cool-down Exercises

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

When you are crunched for time and looking to maximize your workout, the first thing that typically gets cut is the warm-up and/or cool-down.  This is a mistake for a number of reasons.


The Warm-up:


A warm-up doesn’t need to be terribly long but, it does need to exist.   Taking 3-5 minutes to warm-up before any type of workout (strength or cardio), can drastically reduce your risk of injury and minimize any muscle soreness or stiffness in the days following. 


A proper warm-up will also:

• Lubricate your joints and ligaments in preparation for higher intensity movements

• Increase heart rate and pump blood to working muscles

• Increase energy and mental readiness in preparation for your workout


According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), warm-ups are necessary as a means for improving range of motion and reducing risk of injury. 


The best warm-up should include Dynamic rather than Static movement. A dynamic warm-up can include:


• Low intensity settings on any cardio equipment including treadmill, elliptical or bike


• Leg or arm swings – start slow and work toward increasing pain-free range of motion.  This is especially good to do prior to total body workouts. Also try small range of motion walking lunges as shown here


• Avoid Static stretching – holding a stretched position in an effort to increase flexibility is better suited to post workout cool-down.  The NIH studies note that static stretching can actually negatively affect sport or exercise performance



The Cool-down:


Equally important but, often skipped is the cool-down.   A quality cool-down can actually improve subsequent workouts.  This is because cool-down exercises help to flush out waste products often accumulated during high intensity workouts (ie, lactic acid).  If lactic acid is not flushed out, increased muscle stiffness and soreness result. 


A proper cool-down will do the following:

• Decrease heart rate closer to its resting state

• Decrease core body temperature

• Help the body regulate blood pressure down to normal.  This is important especially for those prone to light-headedness post workout


Cool-downs are simple and quick. All you need is 3-5 minutes.  Include lower intensity cardio exercises followed by flexibility exercises.  The cool-down is the appropriate time to include static stretching exercises in an effort to increase flexibility. These exercises include:


• Hamstring Stretch –

Press one heel forward, keep that leg stretch, hands at hips, push hips back and hold for 20-30seconds


• Quad Stretch –

Stand tall, balance on one leg, bend the opposite knee, reach back to that heel and pull toward the seat.  Avoid over-arching the low back.  Keep abdominals in and strong.  Hold for 20-30seconds.


• Chest Stretch –

Clasp hands behind back or hold at hips.  Pull elbows in toward each other, drawing shoulder blades down and together.  Press elbows further in or hands further back to increase the stretch.  Hold for 20-30seconds.


• Upper Back Stretch –

Clasp hands together in the front of your body.  Bring your chin to your chest and push hands forward, opening up the mid back.  Take a few deep breaths and hold for 20-30seconds.


If you take the time to warm-up and cool-down, your body will thank you with less injury, more energy and your subsequent workouts will rock as a result!

Snap Workout: H.I.I.T.

By: Snap Fitness

The Warm-up:


Select your favorite cardio machine and get your body loosened and blood flow moving for 5 minutes. The warm-up should increase your heart rate, but it should not leave you feeling fatigued.



The Workout:

30 seconds of each exercise

Complete 4 circuits


1a. Jumping Jacks

1b. Wall sit

1c. Bicycle crunches


Rest 30 seconds


2a. Step-ups

2b. Squats

2c. Elbow plank


Rest 30 seconds


3a. Mountain Climbers

3b. Lunges

3c. Side plank


Rest 60 seconds and Repeat circuit (complete 4 circuits total)



The Cool-Down:


End your workout routine with stretching exercises for 3-5 minutes

40 Minute Elliptical Core Workout

By: Snap Fitness


Do you often times find yourself getting bored quickly on the elliptical? Want to work your core while on the elliptical? If you answered yes, this workout is for you.


Next time you hop onto an elliptical, pick one that has moving handles. This workout will require you to let go of the handles every couple intervals to test your balance and engage the core – and keep things interesting!


Adjust the resistance levels if you find them too hard or too easy. If your elliptical machine has an adjustable incline, keep it in the range of 5-8 throughout the entire workout.


Turn up your music and get to work!




How to Prepare for Your First 5K: Part 3

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training


You have successfully completed your first 5k – now what?  Spend some time to enjoy the moment and be proud of what you have accomplished.  When you’re ready, it’s time to set your sights on a new goal.  Maybe you want to increase your pace and completion time of your 5k, or maybe you want to tackle a 10k!


The program below is a “next-step” from the original 5k training plan.


This program focuses on a higher volume of training plus, higher intensity intervals 1x/week.  Your long runs are scheduled weekly and typically on a weekend when you have a little more time available.





Now that you have gained the confidence and know-how to start, don’t stop!  Ride on the momentum of your current success – good luck!  

Snap Workout: Whole Body

By: Snap Fitness

The Warm-up:


Select your favorite cardio machine and get your body loosened and blood flow moving for 5 minutes. The warm-up should increase your heart rate, but it should not leave you feeling fatigued.


The Workout:


10-15 reps of each exercise

Complete 3 sets of each superset and move on to the next


1a. Chest Press

1b. Lat Pulldown


2a. Leg Extension

2b. Leg Curl


3a. Bicep Curl

3b. Tricep Extension

4a. Back Extension

4b.  Abdominals


The Cool-down:


End your workout routine with stretching exercises for 3-5 minutes

4 Ways to Cool-down After a Workout

By: Snap Fitness

A cool-down should be performed after any workout to gradually reduce the heart rate and return the body to a resting state. An effective cool-down will also help reduce muscle stiffness and soreness.


 1. Cool-down cardio

After your cardio workout, slow your speed to a light pace/walk for 5-10 minutes. This will help flush out lactic acid from your muscles, preventing soreness and assist with muscle repair and recovery.


2. Stretch

Stretch each major muscle for about 30 seconds. If a particular muscle group is sore, spend more time on that area.

a. Quadriceps

b. Hamstrings

c. Glutes

d. Chest

e. Arms/Shoulders

f. Core/Back


3. Hydrate

After a workout, it is crucial that you replenish the water supply you lost during your workout. Replacing the fluid that you lost is an important part to your recovery.  We recommend that you replenish with 16 ounces per hour of exercise.


4. Replenish

Grab a recovery drink that includes a combination of protein and carbohydrates.  The protein helps rebuild and repair muscle tissue, while the carbohydrate insures a fast delivery of protein into the cells.  Be sure to enjoy within 30 minutes post workout when your muscles are ready to absorb the nutrients.



30 Minute Cross-Train Cardio Workout

By: Snap Fitness


Do you have a cardio routine you haven't switched up in a while? Do you feel like you have hit a plateau?


If your body gets used to doing the same workout routine all the time, it can cause you to plateau. You need to switch things up and we have the workout solution for you!


Changing up cardio machines during your workout will not only keep things interesting, but it will also challenge your muscles and help burn extra calories. 


Now turn on your favorite workout playlist and get to work! 



Snap Workout: Legs & Glutes

By: Snap Fitness

The warm-up:


Select your favorite cardio machine and get your body loosened and blood flow moving for 5 minutes. The warm-up should increase your heart rate, but it should not leave you feeling fatigued.


The workout:


Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between each set


Sumo Squat: 2 to 3 sets of 10-15 reps


Set the barbell across your back and take a wide stance to perform this type of squat. Point feet outward, farther out than your natural stance. Slowly lower yourself while maintaining a straight posture with your head up. Raise the bar as you exhale and return to the starting position.


Lunge Jumps: 3 sets of 12-15 reps


Stand with your feet together. Lunge forward with your right foot. Once in your lunge position, jump straight up and switch legs in midair, landing in a lunge position with your left leg forward.  Repeat until you are back with your right leg forward – that is considered 1 rep.


One Leg Barbell Squats: 2 to 3 sets of 10-15 reps


Place one leg up on a bench or box behind you while standing on the other leg. Hold a barbell across your back then slowly bend until you are in a squat position then straighten your leg until you’re at the top. Finish the reps on one leg, then switch to the other leg.


Dumbbell Step Ups: 3 sets of 12-15 reps


To perform this, stand behind a bench.  While holding a set of dumbbells, place one leg up on top of the bench, press through your heel to lift onto the bench in a balanced/standing position. Once at the top, lower yourself down in the same way you stepped up – that is considered 1 rep.


The cool-down:


End your workout with the Core Workout Challenge and finish with some stretching.

25 Minute Glute Sculpting Treadmill Workout

By: Snap Fitness


Want to sculpt a better backside? This 25 minute treadmill workout will have your glutes working in overdrive.


During the more intense parts of the workout, bend your knees slightly and dig your heels into the treadmill to really squeeze your glutes.


Beginners should start at 4mph or adjust to a slower speed if needed. For advanced runners, shoot for 5mph or higher if you need more of a challenge.


Turn up your music and get to it!



How to Prepare for Your First 5K: Part 2

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Many of you enjoyed Part 1 of “How to Prepare for Your First 5k.”  Now that you have a good head start, it’s time to address some common errors that new runners make.   


Getting new shoes for the race

Unless your shoes are showing signs of wear (which I outline below), do not buy new shoes before a race. On average, shoes should be replaced after 250-300 miles or when they show the following signs of wear: is the tread wearing down in the midsole?  How does your body feel? Do you have increased pain or soreness without having an increase in training volume or intensity?  When you stand in your shoes, check the mirror.  Do the midsoles “wrinkle” when you are standing in them?  That is a sign of wear and a breakdown in the cushion and support of the shoe.  They should be replaced.


Experimental Race Day Nutrition

Who doesn’t love all the freebies you get at the race expo?  Goo, gels, granola bars and yummy gummies are tempting for sure.  But, let me warn you, if you haven’t introduced the high sugar or high electrolyte mix to your stomach during training, don’t start now!  You could experience stomach cramping or extra trips to the bathroom during the race.


Inadequate Hydration

During a race, water stops are typically every 1-2 miles.  Plan to train with the same setup as race day by either carrying water (in a hip pack or hands free water system) or planning your route where you know there are drinking fountains.  Your body will learn to stay hydrated while training, plus you will learn to drink on the run.


Not Fueling Up Properly

For most, setting a 5k event goal is shared with losing weight and improving overall fitness.  With that focus in mind, proper nutrition is key.  Depending on the length of your training runs or race, you should always fuel up for energy and performance. Reference the chart below as guideline for when and how to fuel.



As you continue on in preparation for your first 5k race, simply stick with the program.  Use this list as your guide for more enjoyable running, improved pace, and plans to meet or exceed your goal!

Posts 51 - 60 of 130