Do you tend to rush your warmups before jumping in to your workout? Do you skip them entirely because they’re boring?
The warmup is an essential part of your workout for many reasons. It gets your body ready for exercise and be able to perform through the full range of motion, it promotes structural integrity and keeps your body aligned and your muscles relaxed, and most importantly it can help prevent injury.
Warming up before a workout is essential, and there is actually a right and wrong way to do it. So here are 7 warmup moves you may not really know of, that will properly get you ready for the workout that awaits:
The bear is a great way to wake up the whole body. Legs, core, back and shoulders, performing this warmup before almost any type of exercise will help prepare you for what’s ahead.
How to Perform: Start on your hands and knees making a table top position. Carefully lift your knees so that they are off the ground by about 1 inch, and your toes and hands are the only things touching the ground.
Making sure your shoulder blades are retracted, gently walk your right hand forward about 6 inches, and your left knee to meet your left elbow. Then, repeat with your left hand and your right knee/elbow. Walk forward 3 to 5 paces, then backwards the same amount of times. Perform this for 3 total sets.
This pose is similar to the Bear, but there is less moving around. This warmup is great before any upper body workouts as it will primarily fire up your core, chest, and triceps.
How to Perform: Begin in your table top position like in Bear. Raise your knees about 1 inch off the ground and then push your hands into the ground to extend your arms and sit your butt back to rest on your heels. Make sure to keep your knees off the ground.
Then, push your hips forward so that your arms are straight and your shoulders are over your wrists. This will look similar to the top of a push up position, except your knees will be off the ground and your legs will be bent. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
Sideways Plank Walk
Sideways plank walks are great for waking up your core while also giving your body some motor skill testing, as it is a more complex movement that may make you fumble the first few tries. You’ll also get a great burn in your chest and shoulders to warm up your upper body.
How to Perform: Get into a yoga plank position with your feet together (the same as the top of a pushup). From here, step your left hand about 6 inches to the right to meet your right hand, while simultaneously stepping your right leg out about the same distance.
Then, step your right hand out about 6 inches while stepping your left leg over to meet your right. Repeat 3 times to the right, then 3 times to the left for about 3 sets. Make sure to keep your shoulder blades retracted and your core tight.
World’s Best Warmup
This warmup has been dubbed as “the world’s best warmup” because of the fact that it warms up just about every major muscle group in the body, which makes it a great general warmup before almost any workout. If you do lots of yoga, this will feel very similar to a sun-salutation.
How to Perform: Start in a standing position with your feet together. While keeping your back flat, bend over to touch your toes. Slightly bend your knees so that your hands are on the ground in front of your toes. Then, slowly shift your weight onto your hands and walk your hands out ending in a plank position.
From here, step your left leg up in between your hands, then place your right palm on the ground just outside your foot and twist to the left, bringing your left arm straight up perpendicular to the ground. Reverse that movement and bring your left leg back to meet your right, and then perform that same sequence with your right leg, this time twisting to the right. Once you are back into a plank position, walk your hands back to your feet and slowly lift yourself back to standing position. Perform 5 times.
Lateral Squat Walks
Many people require more time to warm up their legs than other parts of their body, mostly because they are the largest muscle group, but also because we tend to sit for most of the day and lots of us have some sort of knee problem which requires special attention. This move is a great way to warm up those legs and can even function as its own exercise.
How to Perform: Begin in a squat position with your thighs just about parallel to the ground and your feet about shoulder width apart. Your arms can be out in front of you like you are about to catch a basketball chest pass.
From here, step your left leg over to meet your right while maintaining crouched squat position. Then, step your right leg out to about shoulder width. Step 5 times to the right, then 5 times back to the left. Perform 3 sets.
Another muscle group that often takes a while to warm up due to delicacies are the shoulders and upper back. This warm up series is a great way to start any shoulder or back workout and fire up areas that will help promote good form and posture.
How to Perform: Stand tall with your feet about hip width apart. With a flat back, bend over so that you make about a 45 degree angle with your torso. Your arms should be hanging straight down.
From here, raise your arms straight up in front of you while keeping your gaze on the floor about 3 feet in front of you. This will create an “I”, as your biceps will be right next to your ears. Return your arms to hanging, and then make a “Y” with your arms in the same way you did before. Finally, make a “T” with your arms all while maintaining your bent-over position with your spine aligned and your gaze on the floor in front of you. Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.
Planking Shoulder Taps
This last move is a great core warmup as well as another way to fire up those shoulders and promote stability in your obliques. Perform this before any upper body workout.
How to Perform: Get in a yoga plank position with your feet about shoulder width apart. Carefully pick your right hand off the ground to touch your left shoulder. Return your right hand to the starting position and repeat with your left hand to your right shoulder.
It is extremely important to make sure you aren’t leaning over to one side in order to compensate for your weight only being on 3 limbs and not all 4. This is what will help fire up your core and increase your oblique strength and stability.
We all sometimes rush through our workouts, but it is extremely important to never skip your warmup and cooldown, as it is these two aspects of your workout that will keep you healthy and uninjured so that when you do have the time for a full, unrushed workout, you can perform at your best without any pain.