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How To Warm Up At The Gym

Posted by BRANDON FALKENBERG on

How To Warm Up At The Gym

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and possibly pick up an injury.

If there was one simple change that almost everyone could make to their exercise routine that would help them lift more, run, cycle or row faster, and be less susceptible to injury, we’d all do it, right? Well, there is, and most of us don’t.

Warming up takes minutes and brings with it a host of benefits. It is, in short, vital to squeeze in five to ten minutes of prep before your workout, no matter how short on time you are. It’s better to warm up properly and do two excellent sets than rush through three poor ones because you start cold, risking injury along the way.

To help you warm up for your next weights or treadmill session, try these routines created by Yasmin Saadi, director and personal trainer at The Fitting Rooms gym.

How To Warm Up For A Weights Session

1 Static hip flexor stretch

Time 30-60sec each side

Many of us, particularly deskbound workers, have tight hip flexors from sitting down all day. If not addressed, this can lead to lower-back injury while weight training. For this stretch, get on one knee with the other foot in front. Push forwards to stretch your hip, keeping your core tight and squeezing your opposing glutes as you do so.

2 Deep lunge with hip circles

Reps 5 circles each leg

This helps to start mobilising the hips and increasing synovial fluid at the joints, which reduces friction. While holding a deep lunge position with your hands on the floor in front, start circling the front knee to stretch and mobilise the hip.

3 Deep lunge hold with thoracic rotation

Reps 5 reaches each side

In a deep lunge position, reach to the floor with one elbow, then rotate your torso and reach to the ceiling with the same arm. This mobilises the spine and helps prepare for rotational movements.

4 Downward dog walk-out

Reps 5

From a press-up position walk your hands backwards towards your feet, pushing your hips upwards and keeping your legs as straight as possible to feel the stretch in your hamstrings and calves – in yoga this is known as the downward dog position. Then walk your hands back to the press-up position and repeat.

6 Band shoulder dislocate

Reps 10

Grasp a resistance band and pull it apart so your arms are straight out to the sides. Keeping the band stretched and your arms straight, move the band in a large arc over the top of your head and onto the back of your shoulders, keeping your torso upright throughout. This helps improve the range of movement in your shoulders and increases synovial fluid at the shoulder joint in preparation for upper-body exercises.

7 Lunge with overhead reach

Reps 20

You’re almost finished warming up – you just want to make sure the heart rate is elevated and all your joints are warm and ready for action. Lunges with overhead reaches will get the heart working and prep almost every joint in your body for movement. Step into a lunge and reach above your head with both arms. Alternate legs.

Exercise Specific Warm-Ups

After this warm-up, it’s advisable to do one or two warm-up sets of every exercise you’re going to do in the weights room. This not only properly prepares the specific joints, but also gives your body time to learn that movement as well as priming your nervous system.

How To Warm Up For A Treadmill Session

1A Static hip flexor stretch

Time 30sec each side

Get on one knee with the other foot in front. Push forwards to stretch your hip, keeping your core tight and squeezing your opposing glutes as you do so. Move straight into 1B, then perform 1A and 1B on the other side.

1B Deep lunge with hip circles

Reps 10 each side

While holding a deep lunge position with your hands on the floor in front, start circling the front knee to stretch and mobilise the hip.

2 Downward dog walk-out

Reps 5

From a press-up position walk your hands backwards towards your feet, pushing your hips upwards and keeping your legs as straight as possible to feel the stretch in your hamstrings and calves – in yoga this is known as the downward dog position. Then walk your hands back to the press-up position and repeat.

3 Single-leg calf raise

Reps 15 each side

Stand on a step on one foot, with the ball of the foot on the step and your heel off it. Using your hands for support – put one hand against a wall, for example – raise your heel. If this is too difficult then perform the movement with two legs at the same time. This helps warm up the ankle joint as well as activating the calf muscles to provide support at the ankle joint for running. The single-legged nature of this exercise will also activate the gluteus medius (side of the bum), which any physio will tell you is crucial for knee and back health when running.

4 Resistance band crab walk

Sets 3 Reps 10 each direction

Place a resistance band around the outside of your knees so that you have to resist the pull of the band when you push your knees out. Then walk sideways with your knees slightly bent, like a crab. If you have the space go ten steps left, then ten steps right, three times.

Treadmill

Take two minutes to progress slowly from a walk up to your intended running pace. This not only elevates your heart rate safely but also gets your joints used to the impact and allows your body to learn the movement correctly.

Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.



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