Nail your warm-up

Start your workout strong

By Sara Moser, WAC Personal Trainer

Are you keeping your workouts going at home? I sure hope so!

If you’ve ever arrived at a sporting event early, it’s likely you’ve seen the athletes going through an extensive warm-up—everything from dynamic stretches to movement preparation and core-engagement exercises. A proper warm-up is key to a great injury-free performance (aka workout)!

Since a lot of us spend a good amount of the day sitting at desks, in cars, and on the couch, we need to put effort into getting our bodies ready to move in a more dynamic way than usual. Even sleep can leave us stiff in the mornings. In the past, a warm-up might have consisted of jumping on a piece of cardio equipment for five minutes. While this isn’t a bad thing to do, there are other options for getting our bodies prepped to perform as best as possible.

I have a lot of my clients start with foam rolling and stick work. Both provide increased circulation and address tight muscles. This can also be done at the end of a workout to help with muscle soreness. Next, movement preparation exercises. This includes passive stretches done in slow steady movements, never bouncing! These exercises are designed to get the joints moving in their full pain-free range of motion by lubricating the joints and addressing stiff soft tissue like fascia, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This is especially important for arthritic joints to help ease pain and mitigate joint damage.

After we get the joints warmed up, we need to get the core activated. The core is not only the abdominal muscles but also everything from shoulders to hips. Exercises like hip lifts, clam shells, and bird dogs can get those core muscles firing before bigger strength exercises or endurance exercise begins. Dynamic stretches, such as high kicks and knee hugs, help get the body ready for faster movements as well as challenging balance. Think of it like getting the whole body on board to preform at its strongest.

A complete warm-up is your best tool to get your best performance, whether it be a strength workout, a run, or even just getting ready for the day at your new home office.

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