warm up and warm down

Am so busy with stuff that do not seem to have time to warm up/warm down after one hour workout on kayakpro ex machine. Can someone please explain why warm down reduces soreness. Would going half speed at start and end for a couple minutes be enough?

Warm up is very useful in preventing injury to “cold” stiff muscles. Basically, in the simplest terms, it “wakes up” the nervous system that controls your muscles (specifically parts that prevent overstretching and muscle tearing by controling tension), and it physically loosens the muscle fibres.

If your exercise is very controlled, as most machines are, warm up is less critical than a high demand sport like football, basketball etc. with forces coming from all sorts of unpredictable places. You might just start a little slower and ease into it.

Cool down is important for a couple of reasons. As to soreness, it may aid in the removal of lactic acid which has built up as a result of anerobic muscular activity (i.e. your muscles were working faster than the body’s ability to supply them with oxygen - sprinting, short intense bursts - up to about 2 minutes) There is also the idea of returning your heart rate to normal in a more gradual way. This can be critical for people who are already at risk, but is often ignored by young, athletic types.

Stretching is good for flexibility, but will do nothing to reduce soreness. Hold stretches for at least 15 seconds to gain flexibility. You might want to hold them for less as part of your warm up, but this will only serve to do the “wake up” mentioned earlier, not to improve flexibility.

I heartily recommend a book called “conditioning for outdoor fitness” by Musnick et al. It is very accurate, up-to-date, yet readable.

Good luck with your training.

Can’t really add much to the cool down
but for the warm up think of your muscles as Play-do or window putty. They are very stiff when cold but when you warm them up the are much easier to work with. Your muscles are the same.

How about going 40 minutes
Do a 40 minute workout on the machine. Give yourself 10 minutes on either end to condition properly. You’ll prolly be better off for it.

What works for me
on both my bike wind trainer and in my kayak.

I’ll work up to the bigger gears taking fifteen minutes to get up. Then alternate between my two biggest for fifteen minutes and then do a warm down for the last fifteen working down through the gears. On the first five and the last five minutes I don’t do any spinning.

On the kayak I use the first five minutes to ease my stroke rate up to full tilt and then the last five to ease it on down to nil.

I personnaly think that the cool down is much more important than than the warm up.

Don’t ask me why, but I have always thought that way back from my running days.



Far From Expert
I do 30-40 minutes on my elliptical trainer each day. I have it programmed to have no resistance for the first five minutes. Then slowly build resistance during the second five minutes, then do intervals. And if I make it to 40 minutes the last five minutes are no resistance. I don’t know that this is “right”, but it seems to work for me.

Happy Paddling,


why warm-up, cool-down
The warm-up is important because it increases blood flow to the muscles. You are more likely to pull a muscle if you try to go hard before the muscles are ready. The cool-down can help prevent heart problems. Just suddenly stopping from a hard effort can result in blood pooling in the extremities, which isn’t good for the heart. A five minute warm-up and cool-down are good. As for lactic acid and the cool-down that is a big myth. Your body will pretty much get rid of lactic acid within an hour or so after exercise, regardless of the cool down. Your heart loves to use lactic acid. Your liver likes to convert it to glycogen. Lactic acid does not cause muscle soreness the next day. Yes the cool down can reduce lactic acid levels a little more quickly, but this is only really important if you are competing and only have a short rest before the next competition (30 minutes- 2hours). Your body actually likes to use lactic acid for energy.