Strength training should be preceded by a 10 to 15 minute warm-up on a treadmill, stationary bicycle or elliptical trainer.

This is according to Ingo Froboese, a professor at the Health Centre of the German Sport University in Cologne. “A brief aerobic activity gets your circulation going,” supplying more blood to muscles and improving their performance, he said.

“You can compare it to oil in an engine,” Froboese remarked. The engine has to be well lubricated to function properly, but the oil has to be properly distributed first. With muscles the process is similar, “The individual muscle fibres have to move past each other smoothly so that they can deliver top performance during strength training.” Mental preparation, too, should not be underestimated. “A certain routine before the workout prepares you mentally for it. You concentrate on your body and the movement patterns,” Froboese said.

This helps in performing the movements correctly and minimizes the risk of injury.

“Pick your favourite exercise machine,” Froboese said, adding that it was also possible to combine an aerobic activity with stretching or to regularly vary the machines and routines. And finally, he noted, “It’s very important not to overdo the warm-ups.” The focus, after all, is on the strength training, he said, for which sufficient energy must be left.