A crucial part of your exercise regimen should include a full body warm-up. A good warm-up helps joints, muscles and tendons get ready to move. Getting your body ready for exercise can prevent strains and other issues. If I don’t warm up, I have knee and shoulder pain. Of course don’t overdo the warm-up, and wear yourself out before you hit the weights, pool, bike or track.
A pre-workout warm-up is not 10 minutes on a treadmill—it involves dynamic movements to help prepare your body for lunges, squats, pushups, running…
I usually pick 3-5 of the exercises below to start a session:
• High knee running
• Skipping (yes, it looks silly but great for speed work)
• Butt kicks (try and kick your butt as you run forward)
• Shuffling (run sideways)
• Bear crawling
• Side bear crawl
• Walking lunge
• Walking straight leg high kicks (think Rockets)
• Arm circles
With my clients that have lower back problems I get them on the floor and warm up their abs and lower back. If you have any back or other pains check with your doctor before exercising. Here is a list of great exercises to warm up the core. I do each of these exercises for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat twice:
• Cat stretch: On hands and knees—lift and lower back
• Alligator: On all fours, bring one arm straight out, and bring opposite leg straight back
• Plank: Hold yourself up in a push-up position
• Side plank: Lay on side, lay on forearm-which should be perpendicular with body, lift your hips, stack feet on top of each other if you can
• Hip raises: Lay on back, lift your hips up and down slowly with feet on the ground
My favorite warm up for upper body workouts is push up walking. It’s a simple exercise that only requires space. You start in the push-up position (arms under shoulders, legs straight) and then move forward, back, and side to side without bending your arms or legs. Check out the video: push up walk. If you have weak or sore wrists I would skip this exercise.
At the end of each session I spend 5-10 minutes stretching my client. This is more of your traditional stretching, where you hold a pose for 10-20 seconds. There is some debate on the effectiveness of this type of stretching (static stretching), but my clients enjoy it (probably more than the workout). I see it as beneficial and it gives me time to mix in other techniques that help increase flexibility.
Send me your warm up exercises or questions.