Warm ups are often an overlooked or altogether avoided component of your workout. We all know that a warm muscle is better for training than a cold one. So, don’t go straight into your workout without properly warming up those muscles!
Benefits of warming up properly:
- Raises core temperature.
- Gets blood circulating.
- Raises metabolism by enhancing fuel breakdown.
- Raises muscle elasticity.
- Increases neuromuscular development.
- Reduces risk of injury.
There are plenty of simple warm up exercises you can do at home with no equipment to get your body ready for the work ahead.
*Perform 15-25 reps of each exercise:
Hip Circles: Trace the shape of a circle with your knee. Start small and increase your range of motion as you go. Circle knee both directions.
Leg Swings: Perform leg swings forward/back, side/side, and at a diagonal for hip mobility.
Dynamic Hip Stretch: Pull knee up as high as possible (knee to chest picture not shown above). Then, if flexibility allows, grab your ankle while rotating your knee out (external rotation shown in picture above) and pull up on your leg to feel a dynamic stretch through the hip (piriformis).
Torso Rotation: Press palms together and rotate from side to side as far as possible. Keep a slight bend in your knees.
Jumping Jacks (shown in header picture): Land soft as you jump in and out, keeping your abs pulled in tight and chest open.
Cross-Country: Scissor legs and land soft!
Lunges: Stand with your feet in a staggered stance with weight even on both legs. Bend knees and go straight down and up – not letting your front knee go past your toes (press down through your front heel).
Side Lunges: Feet need to be wider than your shoulders. Biggest mistake people make is not taking the feet out wide enough. Keep your right leg straight as you bend your left knee and press your hip back.
Skaters: Side to side jumps landing soft!
More great exercises that are not shown above: Arm swings, arm circles, shoulder rolls, plank, turning head side to side, tilting head ear to shoulder (feeling no grinding in your neck), and standing back extension (reach arms up and back while keeping abs in and shoulders retracted and depressed).
*Consult your physician before starting any new exercise program. Each person is different. One person may need a little extra time to warm up than another or spend more time on one exercise vs. another. Listen to your body and always keep your abs in, chest lifted, and shoulders retracted and depressed.