It’s Motivational Monday and today I wanted to share with you some of my favourite exercises for warming up before a workout. Honestly, I never used to care about warming up. I’d just jump right into my workout. Not the best idea. However, now I’m a good girl and I always warm up!
Here are some reasons WHY we should warm up:
· Increases body temperature
· Increases heart rate and blood flow
· Increases metabolic rate
· Better functional movement
· Prevents injuries
· Increases muscle elasticity
· Increases amount of synovial fluid in joints
· Improve mental focus
When you’re warming up, make sure that you are DYNAMIC stretching. Generally, this is not the time to do static stretches…you can do those AFTER your workout when your body is warm, elastic, and more flexible. Doing static stretches before your workout can pull muscles, not to mention feel very uncomfortable…but we’ll talk about static stretching another post.
Maybe you’re like…”What? I don’t even know what the difference between dynamic and static stretching is.” Here’s the scoop. Dynamic stretching is a stretch WITH movement (think arm circles). In contrast, a static stretch involves no movement. Put another way, “stretching and holding still” (think reaching your toes). Dynamic stretching involves doing easy, light movements similar to the exercises you’ll do in your workout – getting your body moving and loosened up.
Here are some of my favourite warm up exercises…
Dynamic Chest Stretch
Start out by bringing each arm out to the front of the body. Keep arms straight and quickly bring them back as far as possible, bringing your shoulder blades closer together. Swing them back to starting position and repeat 5-10 times.
Works: rhomboids, chest, deltoids
Step one leg in front of you (about a meter) so that when you bring your back knee down it will not bring your front knee over your toes. Lower body so that the knee almost touches the floor. Make sure the front knee is about a 90 degree angle. Keep your core tight and engaged and your weight in the heel of your foot. Stand up and lunge forward with the opposite knee and continue 10-15 times.
Works: calves, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes
Lying Hip Adductions
Lie on your side in a neutral position, with your hand folded under your head keeping your body aligned straight. Keep one leg stabilizing your body on the floor and lift your lower leg straight up several inches until you feel your hips begin tilting and you are losing your form a little bit. Gently bring leg back down and repeat 10-15 times. Repeat on your other side with the other leg.
Works: adductors, abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings
Standing Hip Abductions
Standing, stabilize yourself with a chair or the wall and bring your leg straight to your side as high as possible (while maintaining good form). Stabilize your core and keep your body anchored to the floor. Bring your leg down slowly and repeat for 10-15 times. Repeat with other leg. Note: You can also do this by raising your leg in front of you to work some different muscles.
Works: transverse abs, glutes, obliques
Lie on your mat, lift your head, and bring your arms straight out in front of you, lifting a few inches off the ground. At the same time, bring your legs straight back behind you and lift up a few inches as well. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
Works: quads, glutes, hamstrings, deltoids, trapezius
Aside from doing some of these type of stretches, for warming up, I also like to do about 10 minutes of light cardio like running, using the elliptical, or cycling.
Other great dynamic moves for warm up would be:
- Jumping jacks and squat jacks
- High knees and butt kicks
- Arm circles, windmills, and shoulder rolls
- Torso twists and side bends
Hope you’re having a fabulous Monday and don’t forget to warm up before your workout!
What’s your favourite warm up exercise?
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