The warm-up is one of the most important elements of an exercise program. Here are 10 great warm-up exercises to use, from Meghan Jarvis, Australian Institute of Fitness QLD Course Crusader.
Warming up helps prevent injury, prepares the body for movement and ultimately enhances performance.
Here are 10 great warm-up ideas you can use in your workout.
1. The A-Skip
Step forward with right leg, and as right foot touches floor, push up onto ball of foot with a hop, bring left knee up to hip height and swing right arm forward. Lower left leg and repeat, alternating legs as you step-hop for 30 seconds.
2. Rotating Lunge
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding your arms fully extended in front of you at chest height with your hands together. Take a giant step forward with left leg, like you are moving into the lunge position. Hold, and rotate torso to left for 2 seconds. Rotate to centre and then stand back up. Repeat, alternating legs and rotation direction. This assists in building balance, stability and core strength.
3. Touch Down
Lie face up with arms out to sides. Raise right leg so it’s perpendicular to floor. Lower right leg across torso and touch floor on left side with right foot. Return to start; do 8 to 10 reps. Repeat with left leg. This movement warms inner and outer thighs, lower-back muscles and strengthens core.
4/5. Front to Back Leg Swings and Body Leg Swings
Using swinging movements is a great way to loosen up your lower body muscles and joints so they are primed for handling heavy resistance. It also mimics movements that a runner will be performing so is a great way to get the legs primed.
6/7. Skipping/Jump Rope and Jumping Jacks
Skipping and jumping jacks increase heart rate and ensure that the heart will start pumping more blood to the muscles, warming the entire body.
8. Imitate the Exercise Moves
You may also warm up by imitating the moves you are about to perform during your workout, just with minimal or no load, or less speed and range. For instance, if you are doing a lat pull down, select a very light weight, and do 15-20 reps, gradually increasing speed and range of movement.
9. One-Legged Balance Touches
Standing on your left leg, bend at the waist while keeping your back flat and hips pushed back. Reach down, and try to touch your left foot. Then raise your upper body to the starting position, but without touching your right foot to the floor. Repeat 8-10 times, before swapping sides. This is great for priming the nervous system for more complex moves, while warming up the lower body at the same time.
10. Try a Pre-Event Performance Massage
By engaging the muscle in some deep tissue massage you increase the fascia’s ability to retain water for up to 30 minutes, which helps improve strength during your workout.
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