How do you warm up for your workouts?
If you’re not warming up at all or skipping your pre-workout stretches, you may be setting yourself up for injury.
One of my favorite ways to increase the effectiveness of my workouts, decrease my risk for injury, and feel great, is to complete a quick stretch before each and every one of my workouts.
The time investment is so small compared to the immense benefits of warming up your muscles and loosening up your body.
It’s important to note, that I recommend Dynamic Stretching before your workout as opposed to static stretching. Although these may look like those typical gym-class static stretches, I want to see you doing them in a “dynamic” way. Meaning this: instead of just assuming the posture and holding still like a statue, work with your breath to deepen the stretch and really feel your muscles elongating.
Do not get dynamic stretching confused with ballistic stretching. I do not recommend that you “bounce” while stretching. Just breath deeply and focus on slowly increasing the length of your muscles. You may repeat stretches several times until you feel you’ve got a good sensation and change out of it.
Do these 5 dynamic stretches before your next workout to experience the benefits.
1) Standing Quad Stretch
A very simple stretch that offers great benefits for your hips and knees and even improves your balance.
- Stand with your feet together
- Lift your right foot off the ground and find your balance
- Grab your right foot with your right hand and pull your heel towards your butt
- Reach your left arm out to help with balance
- Hold this stretch for 3 to 5 seconds, increasing the intensity with each deep breath by pulling your foot closer to your butt and pressing your hips forward. You knee should be pointing straight towards the ground and your hips straight.
- Switch to stretch the other side
- Repeat 3 times on each side (6 total)
2) Standing High Knee Pull
Loosen up your hips and stretch your booty muscles with this fun warm up
- Stand with your feet together
- Lift your right knee up as high as possible and grab onto the front of your knee with both hands.
- Pull that knee towards your chest with a good squeeze to feel some compression in your hip.
- Hold this squeeze for about 2-3 second and carefully release.
- Switch to stretch the other side.
- Repeat for 5 reps on each side (10 total)
3) Wide Squat Rotations
My favorite spine stretch! After a long time sitting or lying down this stretch feels amazing.
- Take a wide stance and bend your knees to 90 degrees
- Place your hands on your knees and press your knees apart with straight arms. (this helps lengthen your spine)
- Twist and look over your right shoulder, dropping your left shoulder forward.
- Keep your arms straight
- Hold this twist for 3 to 5 seconds, breathing deep and intensifying the stretch as you go.
- Switch and do the same stretch on the other side.
- Repeat 2x on each side (4 total)
4) Spiderman Lunges
This amazing warm up stretch lengthens your leg muscles as well as fires up your core strength.
- Start in a plank position
- Lift your left leg up and plant your foot right outside your left hand.
- Lean some pressure into that foot to feel a good stretch through your butt and legs
- Hold this stretch for about 3 to 5 seconds then return to the plank position.
- Repeat on the other side and continue for 3 reps each side (6 total)
5) Shoulder Stretch
Can’t forget the upper body. This shoulder and back stretch also opens up your hips.
- Stand in a semi lunged position, with your right knee in front and slightly bent but your left leg straight behind you.
- Make fists with both hands then sweep your left arm across your chest and catch behind your left elbow with your right forearm.
- Hug that left arm tight to your chest
- Look towards the right and slightly lean that direction as well until you feel a stretch through your shoulder, back and hips
- Breath deep and hold this stretch for at least 3 to 5 seconds.
- Switch to the opposite arm and opposite legs and repeat 3x on each side (6 total)
I hope you’ll enjoy using this warm up and remember to do it, or a similar warm up before each of your workouts.
This should only take you a few minutes and is well worth it for the benefits.
Start implementing this now and see how much better your workout and your body will feel during and long after your workout.