3 Easy Ways To Warm-Up Like A Pro
Skipping your warm up can put you at risk of injury, and minimize the effects of your workout. At Fit1, we do a dynamic warm-up, using stretches that are “dynamic”, meaning you are moving as you stretch. For decades, static stretching, or holding a stretch for 10 or more seconds, was thought to be most effective. Now we know that dynamic stretching is at the core of an effective warmup. Dynamic stretching activates muscles, improves range of motion, warms up the body, improves body awareness (coordination, balance), and enhances muscular performance and power. Dynamic stretching can help you lift more weight during a workout, and increase overall athletic performance compared to no stretching or static stretching.
Check out our three favourite ways to warm up like a pro:
Squat to Stand
If it’s good enough for the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s good enough for us! We love this dynamic stretch that loosens your thigh, hip and oblique muscles, and warms up your legs, back, and shoulders.
How To Do It:
a. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
b. Place your feet parallel with your toes pointing forward. Exhale and fold forward from your waist. Keep your legs mostly straight, and place your fingers underneath your toes. Let the top of your head drop.
c. Inhale, bend both knees and sink your hips into a squat. Keep your arms straight and along the insides of your legs. Exhale, elevate your chest and look forward.
d. Inhale, and raise one arm at a time overhead toward the ceiling. Keep your arms over your shoulders
e. Exhale, straighten your legs and return to a standing position.
f. Repeat for your desired number of repetitions (or for 45 seconds – 1 minute)
Lunge With A Twist
As the name implies, this is a combo move that starts with a lunge, and ends with a twist. The forward lunge helps stretch the hip flexors and activates the legs, glutes, and hips, while the twist stretches out the upper and middle back and activates core rotation.
How To Do It:
a. Stand with your feet hip width apart.
b. Inhale, step one foot forward approximately 2 feet. As you step forward, exhale and drop your hips while bending the front knee. Your knee should be directly over your toes.
c. Slowly twist toward the side you are lunging for a more intense hip flexor stretch. Wave your jazz hands up in the air. Weee.
Quadruped Extension Rotation
This odd-sounding stretch isn’t the latest video game craze, it’s the latest in thoracic spinal mobility moves! Most people have a slightly rounded upper-back and shoulders that slump forward, called “kyphosis.” (Think Quasimodo.) Aside from looking unappealing, kyphosis can cause shoulder problems because it inhibits your joints. It also causes your shoulder blades to spread apart and bulge from your ribcage. Not cool Quasimodo, not cool. The good news is that the Quadruped Extension Rotation is lots of fun to say and do!
How To Do It:
a. Kneel down on all fours with your hands and knees hip-width apart.
b. Keeping your right arm straight and your elbow locked, lift your left hand up and put it behind your head.
c. With your left elbow, reach down then reach up to the sky, feeling a stretch in your thoracic spine. Watch your elbow the entire time.
d. To accentuate the stretch, as you reach the top with your elbow, press your left hand to the ground. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides. Your spine will thank you.