Avoid Injury with These 5 Warm-Up Exercises
Warm-up exercises are like dental check-ups. You know they are important, but it's also really easy to skip them.
When I worked at my corporate job, I felt like I deserved a gold star just for making it into the gym. I didn't also need extra credit for starting with a killer warm-up routine (I mean, who has that kind of time anyway?!).
And doesn't putting on a sports bra count for something???
(Side note, speaking of sports bras... I was usually getting to the gym later than I wanted, thanks boss, so I'd change out of work clothes as if I was on some timed competition, where the top prize went to the fastest outfit change... Am I the only weirdo who does this?)
Anyway, after my record-breaking wardrobe switch, I'd go straight to the treadmill with zero warm-up. I'd just jump on and start running.
Now this method can kinda work when you are in your twenties. Especially if you are someone like me who has always been active and played sports growing up.
But just like when you skip the dentist, this bad habit will catch-up with you eventually (I learned this the hard way). You will likely strain a muscle or hurt a joint, which is no fun.
So do yourself a favor and start your next workout with these exercises. It will literally only take about 5 minutes to complete all 5, and if you are still feeling a little stiff, add another round!
1. Foam Rolling: 2-3 minutes, wherever needed!
If available, I recommend starting every workout with foam rolling. Not only will it prime your muscles and work out some kinks, it will help you mentally transition from being at work, or dealing with something at home, to your workout. Major areas to focus on are generally hips and upper back (but never your lower back... your kidneys do NOT need releasing).
2. Bird Dogs: 8-10 reps each side
These are actually harder than they look, so if you tip over or can't seem to get the coordination right, don't worry, it's not just you (they are just fairly challenging at first). Don't try and rush through them. It's harder to go slow, but you'll get more benefit from focusing on core engagement, keeping your body inline, and controlling your movement with your breath.
3. T-Spine Rotation: 6-8 reps each side
This is the perfect antidote for sitting at a desk all day. If you are like me, you tend to carry a lot of stress in your shoulders (I'm also convinced that purses are the worst...), so this will feel really good. As with bird dogs, move slow and focus on getting maximum rotation.
4. Hip Circles: 10 reps each side (5 circles each way)
This is also great for desk-sitters. Make sure you maintain control of the movement, and don't let your leg swing your body all over the place. Additionally, you'll want to focus on pressing the floor away and keeping your shoulders out of your ears.
5. Glute Bridges: 15-20 reps
Not only is it important to give your back-side some warm-up love, this exercise will also help you build a better booty (so there's zero downside). Most of our activities are quad focused (running, cycling, walking), and it's important to also focus on the glutes so they don't forget how to work (seriously, sometimes they just forget, and this can lead to knee or hip injuries down the line).
So even if you don't have a ton of time at the gym, add this 5 minute routine before you get started to help your body warm-up properly! (because NO ONE has time for injuries!)
What about you? Do you have any favorite warm-up routines?Comment below with your favorite exercise!
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