Everyone who is into fitness knows that you cannot start a workout, no matter how easy it is, without stretching. But, it’s important to know that you need to incorporate warm up exercises into your routine too. Yes, you read that right! You need to stretch and warm up before you begin any kind of exercise – especially lifting.
Why Are Warm Up Exercises Important?
People wonder why they need to do a warm up if they’ve just stretched. Stretching is fine and well, but you could over extend your muscles and prevent your body from achieving the strength and power that you’re hoping to get.
A dynamic warm up is going to increase the temperature of your muscles so they are more pliable, increase the range of motion in your joints, but also get the most out of your workout.
When you jump around and loosen up your muscles, you are less likely to experience any kind of injury because your muscles are ready to go.
What Is A Dynamic Warm Up?
A dynamic warm up combines stretching with movement. For many years, people would just rely on static stretching where you stand in one place and hold a stretch for 10 seconds or more. Opting for this type of a pre-workout warm up is the best option because:
Your muscles will be activated.
Let’s say do a lunge with a twist. This is a dynamic exercise because it is activating the muscles in your core, hips and legs. So when you go to do a more intense activity, like lifting, your muscles are already warmed up and ready to go.
You will have a greater range of motion. Maybe you sit at a desk all day and by the time you’re ready to go workout, your back feels stiff and you can’t bend over. Dynamic exercises will help you feel more limber and flexible.
You are more aware of your body. By starting off with a good dynamic warm up, your body is going be able to perform at its best much quicker than if you hadn’t warmed up. Moving while you stretch is going to test your balance and coordination, which are skills that will help you perform better.
You are more powerful. Studies show that dynamic stretching will enable you to lift more and be able to work out longer than if you just did static stretching. Plus, with this type of warm up, you’ll be able to build up more muscle and strength, thus allowing you to perform at your very best.
List Of Warm Up Exercises
One of the benefits of warming up is that you don’t necessarily need any equipment in order to become nice and limber. Here are some basic exercises that’ll get your blood flowing, your muscles nice and warmed up and ready to go.
To do these exercises, you will want to complete 1 or 2 sets of 10 reps for each exercise.
Lunge With A Twist
This exercise is a combination of a forward lunge and a horizontal twist. The lunge is going to help stretch out the hip flexors and engage the glutes, hips and legs. The twist is going to stretch the middle and upper part of the back, but also your core.
To do the lunge, step forward and drop your hips. Don’t lunge too forward that causes your knee to extend over your toes. Once you’re in the lunge position, slowly twist your torso toward side that you are lunging from. This is going to give your hip flexors an intense stretch.
Knee To Chest
This exercise is going to mimic the top of a running stride because you will be bringing your knee up to your chest before putting your foot to the ground. You can either do this in place, or you can alternate the leg while walking forward. When you do this, you want to hug your shin and leaning in on the opposite foot’s toes.
High kicks will warm up the hamstrings and greatly improve the range of motion. You can either do this while standing in one place and focusing on one leg at a time, or you can do them as you walk by alternating legs with each step.
If you are starting with your left leg, extend your right arm straight out. Kick your leg up so that your toes touch the palm of your hand. For added challenge, kick a little bit higher each time if you can.
Hip Stretch With A Twist
This is a great stretch for those who sit down all day and they want to feel more limber. It is going to loosen the hips and groin, while stretching out the core, middle and upper back.
To do this, you will want to start in a push-up position and bring your left food to your left hand while keeping the lower back flat and your hips down. Take your right hand and reach toward the sky. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
This exercise is going to warm up your upper body while engaging your entire core.
Begin in a push up position and then lower yourself to the ground.
As you push yourself back up, extend your left arm to the sky and keep your right arm stable.
Your hips shouldn’t move at all. Bring your arm back to the ground and repeat with the other arm.
It doesn’t matter if your preparing for an intense workout or if you are going to play some touch football with your buddies, you always want to warm up beforehand. When you perform these quick and easy warm up exercises, you’ll be able to perform much better and you’ll be less likely to hurt yourself in the process.