Heat Up Your Workout with these Warm Up Techniques
Despite the fact that experts frequently tell us just how important it is to warmup our muscles before we hit the gym or begin our workout session, many people still neglect their pre-exercise routines. It’s easy to understand why – when you’re roaring to go with your regimen, the last thing that you want to do is commit yourself to a boring five-minute warm-up.
This is especially true if you find it hard to slide away enough time for a proper workout in the first place. However, by neglecting these first few minutes of your fitness plan, you might be missing out on a whole range of important benefits.
Personal trainers tell us that warming up is important because it makes exercise seem easier, and helps to protect your body against the threat of injury. However, as mundane as that might sound, warming up doesn’t have to be a drag. Well, not if you are listening to a little Lady Gaga, Ice Cube, or Eminem while doing so!
Finding the right routine can help to put the spice back into any workout, and if you start to enjoy your warmups, you might find that they come as second nature – helping you get more out of your body each and every time you hit the gym. So what are some of the ways you can power up for a real workout, without the boredom?
1. The Step-Hop-Kick
This is a fantastic warmup exercise to start up on since it warms the muscles in your hamstrings, glutes, calves, quads, and shoulders – all at the same time. It also helps to get your blood pumping faster, delivering all of the extra oxygen you need to your arms and legs. Start by standing in a normal, relaxed position, buy bend your elbows about ninety degrees as though you’re about to set off for a jaunt.
Take a step forward with your left leg, and as the foot touches the floor, push up onto the ball of your foot with a hop, bringing your right leg upwards to your hip, and swinging your left arm forward. Try not to push yourself too far with this – about thirty seconds should be enough. But have fun (you are not in boot camp!), and remember to switch from one leg to the other regularly. And do not kick someone standing near you, that could be an awkward situation.
2. The Stork Fly
This is an incredible motion for improving balance, stability, posture, and strength. Once again starting in a standing pose, extend your arms outwards to around shoulder height, and keep your feet tight together. Raise your right knee so that your thigh seems to be parallel to the floor and hold the position.
Once you’ve got the hang of this, keep your right knee lifted and move your torso forward – arms stretched out towards you, so that everything but your left leg are held parallel to the floor. You may have a little trouble keeping your balance at first, but you should get used to it with practice.
3. Rotating Lunge
Another fantastic option for building stability and balance, the rotating lunge starts with you standing, holding a pillow or light weight towards your chest. Remember that this is a warmup, so you shouldn’t be doing it with medicine balls or anything too strenuous. Bend your knee until your thigh is about parallel with the floor, then rotate your torso to one side for a couple seconds, keeping the item held in front of your chest. Repeat on both legs, twisting to both sides.
4. Back Twist
This is a great dynamic motion for warming up your hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, glutes, and rotating core muscles. Taking a break from the standing up position – this one starts with you lying face down – so a workout mat might be a wise option if the floor’s not particularly comfortable. Stretch your arms out to the sides and keep your legs straight, then bend your knee and rotate your leg and hip over backwards until your foot is touching the floor on the opposite side. As usual, switch frequently between both legs.
5. Touch Down
Another outstanding warmup that you can take lying down is the touchdown stretch – a terrific option for warming up your lower back muscles, outer and inner thighs, and strengthening your core at the same time. This time stretch out on your mat with your face upwards, and stretch your arms to the sides once again.
Raise up your left leg so that it’s perpendicular to the ground beneath you, and lower it across your torso so that the side of your left foot touches the floor on the right side. This isn’t an ideal solution for people who are already suffering from back problems, but it can be a fine way for you to warm up if you don’t have any little aches and pains to worry about. If you are hurting tremendously, you should be at home resting anyways.
About Benjamin Roussey Benjamin is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.