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Five Favorite Warm Up Exercises

5 favorite warm up exercises
Does your warm-up look like 5 minutes on an elliptical and then getting after it? Do you do static stretching? Do you skip it altogether?
 
There were times in my life where any of those might have been my go-to options. But over time I’ve learned a lot more that have influenced both my personal warm-ups and the warm-ups our members do.

 

WHY DO WARM-UPS?

 
The warmups above ineffective for preparing your for your workout. Incorporating static stretching before a workout might increase your risk of injury.
 
They neglect the primary objectives of a good warm-up:
1. To get you moving in many directions
2. To loosen joints that are tight
3. Activate stabilizing muscles
 
The areas most of our members (and myself) need to address are:
1. Activating glutes
2. Increasing mobility of thoracic spine (mid/upper back) and hips
3. Activating core
 
Addressing these areas counteracts the negative impact of many of our daily activities. For example, sitting a lot.

 

MY FAVORITE WARM-UP EXERCISES

1. GLUTE BRIDGES

2. T-SPINE MOBILIZATIONS

3. PLANK VARIATIONS

4. CRAWLING PATTERNS

5. SOMETHING TO GET YOUR HEART RATE UP

 Check out how each warm up looks.


 

THE BENEFITS OF EACH

 

1. GLUTE BRIDGES

A glute bridge activates what your posterior chain, or the muscles in the backside of your body. This area gets turned off and as we spend time seated, and tightening up our anterior chain. Make sure your core is tight at the top so you avoid arching your lower back and make the motion from your hips.
 

2. T-SPINE MOBILIZATIONS

There are many varieties of T-Spine Mobilizations, but our favorite is from an Open ½ Kneeling position. This creates mobility of multiple joints. Depending on where you are tightest you might feel it in a variety of areas, or nowhere specific. The effect is a lubricating effect of your tight joints – like when Dorothy uses the can of oil on the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz.
 

3. Plank Variations

Big exercises such as planks and deadlifts count on your core being in a stable position so the weight doesn’t crush you. Start with basic variations and focus on finding the right position and learning to control it. Over time we’ll add in movement of the arms or legs to create an extra challenge.
 

4. CRAWLING PATTERNS

If you’ve ever tried these, you’ll realize that it’s amazing how a baby can be good at something that many adults are terrible at. The primary focus of crawling is called reciprocal action, which means opposite sides of your body coordinating together. This requires using both your right and left sides of your brain at the same time. In addition to being a challenge it is also stimulating your neurological system to be ready for exercise.
 

4. SOMETHING TO GET YOUR HEART RATE UP

This is the warm-up that seems like a no brainer, but we still wanted to mention it. Now that we’ve gotten different areas loosened up and activated we want to get more blood moving through your muscles. You get physically “warm” so your muscles are ready to handle the challenges of your workout.
 
Try incorporating some of these tips into your next warm-up!
Adam Shores
Director of  Training
Pursuit Fitness and Performance