Some people have a warm up routine that they complete before they begin every workout, while others think that warming up is for novices. We understand that some people have a limited window for exercise, but there is never an excuse to skip a warm up. Warming up is essential to ready the body for physical activity. We’re not knocking the good old-fashioned stretch, but you need more than that to decrease your injury risk during your workout.
A dynamic warm up can be done before you engage in any exercise. Whether it’s leg day, chest day, back day, or cardio day, the warm up exercises in this article help to ease your muscles, joints, and ligaments into exercise mode. Most people who warm up find that it is easier to engage in strenuous activity because of increased range of motion, reduced muscle tension, and better blood flow and oxygenation. Complete the following warm up exercises before your workout and let us know how you perform.
Step Back Lunge
The point of starting with this is because you will be engaging your leg and gluteus muscles and stretching them at the same time. Part of exercising is maintaining stability, which is why it’s great to start here. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and place your hands on your hips. Step back with your right foot and sink into a lunge, keeping your upper body straight and front knee facing forward. Squeeze your inner thighs and feel the stretch in your right hip flexor, quads, and calf. Hold this for 20 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg.
Now that you’ve loosened up those hip flexors, it’s time to get your blood flowing with some high knees. Start standing straight up with your feet hip-distance apart. Engage your calf muscles and quadriceps to push your right knee off the ground towards your chest. As you quickly return your right foot to the ground, bring your left leg up and press through your right calf in a fluid motion. Keep alternating to jog in place, bringing your knees as close to your chest as you can get them. Do this for at least 30 seconds.
Start in a push-up position either on the ground or at an incline by placing your hands on a bench. Make sure your body is in a straight line and that your wrists are directly beneath your shoulders. Bring your right knee toward the inside of your right elbow, keeping your left leg straight. Engage your abs and glutes and alternate sides in a fluid motion until you’ve completed 15 on each side.
Loosen up your shoulders and arm muscles as you complete this warm up exercise. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and extend both arms out to the sides so that they are parallel to the floor. Keeping your palms facing the floor, rotate your arms forward in tiny circles for 20 seconds. Repeat for 20 more seconds, but rotate your arms in the opposite direction.
You’re going to need to stand near a set of stairs, a box in the gym, or something stable to step onto in order to complete this exercise. Start by standing in front of whatever you are stepping onto with your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your right leg and step onto said object, planting your foot firmly. Drive through your heel and then through the ball of your foot, all the while engaging your glutes, quadriceps, and calf muscles. Bring your left leg up to a high knee position and then return it to ground along with your right foot. Repeat on the left leg and keep alternating for a total of 30 seconds.
This is a classic warm up exercise that engages your core, glutes, and upper body. You can make it less challenging by placing your knees on the ground, or placing your hands against a wall to do a standing incline push-up. Start in a push-up position with your hands on the ground directly beneath your shoulders and your feet extended back. Slowly lower your body down toward the floor without letting your torso sag. Don’t forget to keep your elbows in right next to your sides. Once you are hovering just above the ground, engage your chest and triceps to push back up to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 8-12 reps.