We all know warming up before working out is important, but forget what you learned as a child! Grabbing your foot and pulling it up behind you before a run doesn’t help much. Over the last decade, athletes, coaches, and general fitness enthusiasts have moved toward using full-body movements in warm-ups, designed to slowly increase your body temperature while preparing your body for your workout by “rehearsing” movement patterns you’ll likely use. It’s called a dynamic warm-up. We’ve chosen 5 great exercises for the Anytime Fitness High 5 Warm-Up that you should do before any workout to wake up your body and prepare it for action. Watch this video to learn more.
Reminder: Dynamic warm-ups can also include a bit of light cardio beforehand. Consider cardio that gets your body moving in different directions such as walking or jogging forwards and backwards, and side-stepping or shuffling, as opposed to simply jumping on a stationary bike. And foam rolling is another great pre-workout activity.
Here’s a review of the 5 exercises to include before every workout:
1. Overhead Squat
Begin with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead. Place your arms above your head, being sure to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. You should be able to see your arms in your peripheral vision throughout the movement. Keep your torso upright and your arms right where they are, then sit back as if you’re aiming for a low chair behind you. Your weight should remain in your heels as you lower back, keeping your knees over your toes, and maintain core engagement throughout.
Start with your feet hip-width apart and step your right foot forward. Cross your arms at shoulder height with forearms parallel to the ground. Bend both knees and lower your body, aiming for the back knee to hover just above the ground. Pause and return to a standing position. Focus on keeping your arms in the same position throughout. As with the squat, if you need a bit of assistance, use a stable surface beside you for balance.
3. Single Leg Reach
Stand with your feet together, hands down by your sides, a bit more than arms-length away from a stable surface such as a wall or sturdy chair. You’ll begin to bend forward from the hips, reaching both arms out and toward the floor. You can bend your back leg and focus on putting a footprint on the ceiling as you continue to bend. Depending on your balance, you can bend far enough to have hands hover above the floor. Or, stop at any point along the way. Try to keep your torso parallel to the floor, go slow, and focus on your balance!
Start in a modified push-up position; stay here or move into a full plank position. Be sure your elbows are lined up right under your shoulders. Your head should be aligned with your spine and avoid sagging in your hips.
Begin in a table-top position, knees under your hips and hands directly under your shoulders, palms down on the floor. From here, keeping the mid-section stable, extend your right arm and left leg up, simultaneously. Pause, then, bring your elbow down to touch your knee. Return to the extended position and then back to the table-top position. Pretend there is a glass of water on your lower back throughout the movement; the goal is to not spill the water as you extend your arms and legs in opposition!
After these five exercises, it’s always nice to add in a few shoulder rolls or arm circles, or a few rotations side-to-side and a couple of side-bends. Then, get to work!
These 5 exercises are a great warm-up to prep your body for any type of workout. But if you need any more convincing about why you should add this to your routine, you should know they also represent the most universal corrective exercises we all need to help offset the dangerous effects of prolonged sitting. Feel free to throw these moves in anywhere, at any time to counteract some of the positions we put our bodies in on a daily basis!