Let’s face it, no one really likes to warm up or loosen up before a workout. We all just want to hit the ground running and lift heavy shit. But the fact of the matter is, warming up and maintaining a certain level of flexibility will not only help you achieve more stable and mechanically sound positions when lifting, it will improve your overall performance both in the gym and during recovery.
How do we do it and not absolutely hate it? How do we do it without taking up too much time before our lifts? Here are some of my favorite movements that I incorporate into many of my warm-ups prior to training; these are very simple yet effective movements that can help you get moving better, before your workout.
Squat hold/ Duckwalk:
Set a timer for two minutes. Squat down and actively sit in the bottom position for those two minutes. Push your knees out, keep your chest up and maintain good posture in that bottom position. This will warm up your ankles, knees, quads, hips, glutes, and midline very quickly. To make it a little more dynamic once you feel you are in good position, begin to walk forward while in bottom position. Try to keep your weight distribution in the middle if your foot, actively pushing your knees out and keep your chest up. Walk forward 10-15 steps, and then do the same backwards.
Start with one leg forward and one leg back. Lean over with your torso and get into a track start position with your front knee bent. Keeping your entire front foot on the ground, slowly straighten that front knee until your front leg is fully extended. Hold for 5-10 seconds and go back to the starting position. Rest 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times. Each time consciously try to stretch further. Repeat on other leg as well. This will help warm up your hamstrings and back.
Lat Door stretch
Find a doorway or an open corner of the wall. Start with one arm up and reach your hand to the back of your shoulder blade. Press your upper arm against the wall or doorway, helping you push that arm up and back. This will help open up your lats and shoulders while also warming up your triceps and parts of your chest. Actively push for 5-10 seconds, relax for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times. Be sure to do both arms.
Barbell/Rack variation of Skin the Cat
Set up a bar on a sturdy rack about shoulder height and face away from the bar. Grab the bar with both hands with your palms facing the ground and lock out your elbows. Lean forward and slowly descend towards the ground while keeping your arms locked out. This will open up your chest and shoulders, as well as warm up the elbow joints and forearms.
These four stretches shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, but will help save you stress from possible future injuries. So 20somethings, don’t skip this simple addition to your workouts!
*If making it out of bed and to your pre-workout stretches, let alone the gym, is hard, listen to this 20something playlist. You’ll get your motivational boost, from Queen Bey, to do these stretches before hitting the treadmill.