You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: warming up before your workout is incredibly important for injury prevention. However, improper warm-up exercises can also increase your risk of injury.
A proper warm-up should prepare the muscles and joints for what they need to do during exercise, helping the body get ready for the workout. Before your next workout, try these 7 warm-up exercises.
1) Boydweight Squats
Warm up the glutes and hip flexor muscles as well as the quadriceps, abs, calves, and hamstrings with bodyweight squats. It is a terrific warm-up if you plan to do any weighted squats during your workout.
- To stretch your quads, stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead or slightly outward.
- Place your hands on your hips or in front of your body and then gently bend at the hips and knees. Lower your hips toward the floor.
- Maintain a straight back. Continue lowering until you feel a stretch in your quadriceps (leg muscles).
- Pause and hold for one count before returning to the starting position by pushing through your heels and extending your hips.
2) Inchworm Exercises
The inchworm workout strengthens your front body muscles while stretching your back body muscles. During this warm-up, your entire body will be engaged, making it ideal for an athletic warm-up.
To do the inchworm :
- Stand tall in a natural standing position.
- Bend your body from the hips and put your hands on the floor, if possible.
- Keep your legs straight as you bring your hands forward to a plank position. Slowly walk them back to your feet and stand straight again.
3) Bird Dog
The bird dog workout is great for getting your core and lower back in shape. This will activate the core muscles that support your spine in preparation for your workout. This warm-up will also benefit your glutes and hip flexors.
- Lie down on the floor with your knees under your hips and wrists under your shoulders, then tighten your abdominal muscles and try to keep your spine in a neutral position with your shoulders pulled back and down toward your hips.
- Lift both legs until they are straight back and parallel with the floor, then raise your right arm at the same time until it is parallel with the floor as well.
- Slowly lower both arms and legs to complete one rep.
Planks are an excellent technique to warm up your core and back while also improving your posture and balance. After you've warmed up, try variations like the forearm plank and side plank to push yourself farther.
- Push yourself up into a pushup position.
- If you're more advanced, you can do a plank on your forearms. If you're in the middle, a high plank with your arms completely extended would be a good option.
- Maintain a solid grip on the ground with your palms and toes.
- Maintain a straight back and firm core muscles. Allowing your head or back to slump downwards is not a good idea.
- Hold the plank position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5) Side Lunges
This exercise strengthens your legs, glutes, and hips while working your lower body. It's a good idea to take it easy on the first few lunges by merely going halfway down and then graduating to the complete lunge. Once you've warmed up, execute a set with dumbbells or opposite hand reaches to enhance the effort.
To do a side lunge:
- Step your left foot over to the left as you press into your right foot.
- Bend your left leg while keeping your right leg straight and squat down.
- Pause briefly with your left knee over your toes, but not beyond. Lift your hips to return your left foot to the starting position.
6) Triceps Warmup
Several motions are included in this exercise to help loosen and warm-up your triceps.
- To warm up your triceps, extend your arms straight out to the sides.
- Keeping them straight and parallel to the floor, rotate them backward in circles for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Then rotate them forward in a circle for another 20 to 30 seconds.
- Finally, pulse your arms back and forth for 20 to 30 seconds with palms facing toward you and then away from you.
7) Prone Cobra
The prone cobra movement, which is used as a warm-up, is a yoga variation of the cobra stance. This is an isometric hold that is great for reducing back discomfort and getting your body ready for thoracic and lumbar spine exercises.
- Here's a gentle back stretch you can try.
- Lie on your stomach, arms by your sides, palms down.
- Lift your chest and tummy off the floor, keeping your chin tucked into your chest.
- Lift up one arm, keeping the other by your side. Breathe through your nose as you open up that shoulder. Hold for up to 3 minutes if you can.
Warming up your muscles before you exercise can not only make your workout easier to do and more comfortable, it can also increase the benefit that you get from each workout.
So don't be tempted to skip the warm-up section of your routine—make sure to take a few minutes out at the start of every workout to get more out of every pound!
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