Do you think of it as being an integral part of your workout, or do you quickly get it out of the way, or not even bother? The warm up is such an important part of your whole gym session, and if you just do a couple of stretches, maybe run on the treadmill for five minutes, and then start lifting heavy, you’ll set yourself up for a nice injury down the line. Bad warm ups will have a bad effect on your workout, because a few simple stretches relax your muscles and central nervous system, and will decrease your overall power. Warm-ups aren’t just about getting your body nimble, they are about aligning your posture, getting the blood flowing, and putting your joints through a dynamic range of motion, so you can lift those weights, kill those squats, or use your body to its full potential. Let’s do this!
The first thing to do is always to foam roll. It will remove all the knots and trigger points that build up in the body. It’s like a massage, and as time goes on, it will restore the natural length of your muscle. When you find a spot that’s tender, focus on that point for a while and let the roller do its work. Aim for eight to ten rolls for each part of the body, and then you can go onto the proper warm up.
The Supine Bridge
This will activate your glutes. Lie on your back, bend your knees (at around 90-degrees), and squeeze the glutes making sure you have your heels firmly down and lift the hips. Like the bridge move in yoga. Beware that if your glutes don’t have this strength right now, it’s important not to force your body up into the air. For an increased range of motion, you can spend time using stretching machines and foam rolling for a longer period of time. Make sure to repeat this 10 times, and don’t use your hamstrings for support; it should come from the glutes.
Quadruped Extension Rotation
This will help to counteract your bad posture and increase mobility in your thoracic spine. Get down on all fours, keep your left elbow locked in place but put your right hand behind your head. Use your right elbow to reach to the sky, and you’ll feel a stretch in your thoracic spine. Be sure to look at your elbow throughout the move. Repeat 10 times before switching sides.
Rocking Ankle Mobilization
As many problems begin with the ankles, this move should form part of your warm up every time. Get in a pushup position and lift your hips. Put your left shin over your right calf, and rock your hips, all the while trying to press your right heel down into the ground. Repeat 10 times switch sides.
Scapular Wall Slides
Stand with your shoulders, head, and glutes against the wall; press your forearms against the wall. Squeeze the glutes and press your lower back against the wall.
As a dynamic warm up, this beats the ones you learned in school!