A warm-up involves performing low-intensity exercise to prepare the body for more intense physical activity. The warm-up begins very light but may increase in intensity until one is prepared for the workout.
A warm-up can be passive (one where muscle temperature is increased without exercise, such as a sauna, hot shower, heat application or water immersion) or active (via exercise). Both types of warm-ups increase muscle temperature efficiently and supplement performance compared to no warm-up. Active warm-up tend to result in better short term performance than passive warm-ups.
There are 2 types of active warm-ups: general and specific. A general warm-up consist of low intensity exercise such as slow jogging or stationary cycling that lasts for 5-10 mins. A specific warm-up consist of very light movements similar to the activity/exercise and may last 5-15 mins. Specific warm-ups very depending on the sport or activity. In many instances, a general warm-up precedes a specific warm-up. For aerobic training, the general warm-up can lead into the workout or can precede a specific warm-up.
6 physiological responses that occur during an active warm-up:
1) Increased core and muscle temperature
2) Increased mental preparation
3) Increased oxygen consumption
4) Increased blood flow
5) Increased speed of metabolic reactions
6) Increased neural activation
The majority of the enhancement seen from performing a pre-workout warm-up is attributed to increased muscle temperature.