Warming up is essential to maximizing your performance in the gym. It helps with reducing the chance of injury; however, warm ups should be seen as something that optimizes movement rather than as an insurance policy against injury.
A good warm-up increases body temperature, blood flow and synovial fluid which lubricates joints. It targets areas of tightness and instability that are specific to your body and the movements you’re going to perform. It helps increase range of motion, stability and fluidity which means you can push the intensity on your workout leading to better results. And lastly – and often underrated – a good warm-up allows for a mental reset and better focus. Use it as a time to zone in on your upcoming workout and set the intention to do every movement with purpose.
Long story, short – If you want to maximize results, you need to warm-up.
Here are 4 great warm-up moves to do before a workout:
Each of these warm-up moves targets more than one area of the body so your warm-up is time efficient.
1. Hamstring Stretch to Overhead Squat
Why: This mobilizer trains your squat position, prepares your squat depth and also activates your upper back, keeping your posture open.
How: Stand shoulder-width apart with arms overhead. Keeping a flat back reach towards the ground with your arms into a hamstring stretch. Sit your hips down into a squat position, then lift both arms overhead squeezing your upper back and squat back up to a standing position.
2.Samson Lunge with Elbow to Ground
Why: This move stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, chest and opens up rotation in your upper body. If you can’t reach your elbow to the ground in this move, think of this as your opportunity to improve your flexibility.
How: Start in a push-up position. Bring your right leg up so your foot is flat on the ground just outside of your right elbow. Lift your right hand off the ground and reach toward the ceiling so your upper body is facing to the right. Then bend your right arm and reach your right elbow towards the ground, touching your forearm to the ground if possible. Reverse the motion and reach your right hand back up the sky. Perform 15 repetitions on the right then switch and repeat on the left side.
3. Single Leg Adductor Rock Back
Why: This stretch opens up the groin and adductors to improve hip mobility and lateral motion. Many people have an imbalance between their left and right side so this move is great to test flexibility on each side and balance it out.
How: Start in a quadruped position with hands directly underneath the shoulder and knees directly underneath the hips. Extend your right leg out to the side, placing your right foot flat on the ground. Then rock back slowly keeping the right foot in place. Go back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the inner right thigh. Pause for two breaths then rock back forward and repeat 10 times. Switch legs and repeat on the left side.
4. Cat-Cow to Bird Dog
Why: This move opens up the back, neck and wrists while increasing circulation to the spine. The Bird Dog also activates your inner core muscles without exhausting them so much your core gives out during your main workout.
How: Start in a quadruped position with both hands directly underneath the shoulder and knees directly underneath the hips. Round your back to the sky allowing your head to fall between your arms, at the same time squeeze your fingertips into the ground and rotate your elbows out. Reverse the motion as you inhale so your back arches into the shape of a hammock while also looking up. At the same time squeeze your fingertips into the ground while rotating the elbows in. Go back to a neutral position, then slowly lift your right arm and left leg off the ground at the same time so they go parallel to the ground. Pause and control your body while flexing your core, glutes and upper back; then lower back to the ground and lift the opposite arm and leg. After a rep in each direction go back to the cat/cow sequence alternating between the two moves.