There’s nothing wrong with taking shortcuts, we love omitting steps when we can (hello BB creams) but when it comes to exercising, there’s some steps that should not be skipped—like warming up. No matter if your workout includes heavy weight training, intense cardio or Pilates and yoga, it’s absolutely essential to warm-up before you start.
Why warm-up? In short, to stretch your muscles and get blood pumping to prevent injury and improve your performance. It’s been said that stretching prior to exercise is dangerous, but according to personal trainer and exercise physiologist Franci Cohen, dynamic stretches will warm up the body and prepare it for the activity to follow. “Dynamic stretching has been growing in popularity, as it engages the muscles in a similar way to the workout itself. Because you are moving through the stretching, your heart begins to pump more blood to working muscles, body temperature rises, the muscles warm up and become more elastic, and the body truly does warm up,” says Franci, who suggests warm-ups last between 10 and 15 minutes.
Read on for Franci’s 10-minute warm-up that will “prep even the untrained body for the workout to come.”
1. Jog to Butt-Kicks: Begin by jogging in place for 2-3 minutes at a steady pace. Alternate the jog every 20 seconds with Hamstring Curls (aka Butt-Kicks). Make sure the heel of your foot touches your glutes.
2. Toe Walk: Walk on your toes for 60 seconds to increase ankle motion and strengthen the gastrocnemius.
3. Squat with Arm Swing: Squat down slightly and while rising perform forward arm swing. Repeat for 60 seconds.
4. Arm Circles/Windmills: Extend arms out to the sides like a “T”. Perform 20 small circles in each direction, then 20 big circles in each direction. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
5. Straight Leg Front Kicks: Focus on kicking with the ball of the foot, and as your hamstrings warm up, begin increasing your range of motion by kicking higher and stronger. Make sure to extend the leg as fully as you can without locking during each kick. Perform 25 kicks on each leg (50 total).
6. Side Shuffle: Give yourself about 10 feet of space. Shuffle to the right for 3 counts, then touch the floor, repeat to the left. Repeat the right/left shuffle 16 times. This can also be done on a treadmill but switching shuffle direction every 10 seconds.
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