The 10 Best Warmup Exercises for Your Workout
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While many of us may prefer to skip it, your warmup is arguably one of the most important parts of your workout. Whether you are weightlifting, doing yoga or going for a run, warming up your body prior to strenuous exercise is important.
Warming up not only helps us feel better during our workout, it also helps our muscles repair after a workout. Getting your heart rate up and focusing on flexibility prepares your body for physical activity. Try out these exercises if you’re looking for some new warmup exercises for your workout.
1. Jumping Jacks
It might seem basic, but the exercise we all grew up doing in gym class is one of the best warmup exercises out there. Not only does it get your heart rate up, it also stretches your arms and legs, getting your whole body ready to move.
2. Touch Your Toes
…Or at least try to. Forward folds are a great way to relieve lower back tension, neck tightness and stretch the hamstrings. Whether you are getting prepared for a long run or about to do a HIIT workout, you’ll benefit from this simple stretch.
3. Reverse Lunges
We often associate lunges with weight lifting and other intensive exercises. However, these lunges should be more reminiscent of a yoga class. Slow and steady, take time to stretch those hips.
Yes, a plank is in itself a workout. But it’s also a great way to warm up your abdominal muscles, and make sure your spine is engaged. Paying attention to how these areas work together can also prepare you mentally to concentrate. After all, mental strength is essential in any workout routine.
5. Arm Stretches
If you are getting ready for “leg day” or going for a ten-mile run, you might forget about stretching your arms. However, just because you aren’t planning on actively working on these muscles doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stretch them. Arm stretches are key in warming up your chest, and getting everything loose and ready to go.
6. Bodyweight Squats
Engaging your glutes and quads can get your blood pumping, and it an easy way to prepare for any workout. No need to feel the burn too much, just do enough to feel like your legs are actively engaged. Don’t forget to engage your core as well!
7. Downward Dog
Stealing a move from your yoga routine, downward dog is an excellent stretch to relieve neck, shoulder and back tension. It also strengthens the hamstrings and stretches your calves. Alternating between downward dog and cobra can help with any flexibility training you might engage in, and keep your back limber throughout your workout.
8. Hip Rotations
Oh the hips — we often forget about them. When it’s time to workout, remember to take care of your hips. With most of us sitting at work all day, they need some extra love when it comes to working out. Try these exercises to open your hips, and be sure to pay attention to proper alignment.
9. Calf Raises
Calf raises are an easy way to prevent injury, such as shin splints. Regardless of the activity, it is unlikely that your calves aren’t involved in some way. Even if you are deadlifting, you want your calves to be involved. These stretches only take a few minutes, and can be done anywhere.
10. Neck Side Rotation
After sitting at the office all day, your neck might need some attention. Jumping straight into a workout without warming up your neck and shoulders can be a recipe for disaster. If you are experiencing pain, however, be sure to check with your doctor before engaging in any stretches.