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Warm Up – The Key To A Smooth Workout

warm upA good warm up before your workout can be just as important as the workout itself. If you cannot position your body correctly during the movements you are doing, you will not receive the full benefit from them. Not to mention, you might even hurt yourself–resulting in a backwards turn in your progress.

I know that time is precious and that getting into your workout and getting it done is the first thing on your mind when you get into the gym. So, I am going to show you some quick and efficient movements that you can use to get yourself warmed up and moving properly before you start your workout.

Hip Flexors

The hip flexors are a problem area for most of the population. Tight hip flexors can result from sitting at a desk all day. This can really limit your mobility in your hips and should definitely be addressed before you start your workout.

To loosen up your hip flexors and leg muscles, jump on the foam roller for a couple of minutes. Roll out your quads starting at the knee and working up to your hip flexors. I like to roll out using the 2:1 method or up 2 inches and back down one inch while really focusing on the tight areas. Once you reach your hip flexors, be sure to give them a good mashing. Repeat this same pattern for your IT bands, hamstrings, and glutes.

Using a lacrosse ball is another great way to loosen up your hip flexors. Place the ball just under your hipbone then press up against a wall or lie on the floor to put pressure on this area. Once again, really focus on those sore areas and do this for about thirty seconds on each side.

Low Back

A foam roller is also a great tool for loosening up the low back area. Once you get done rolling out your leg muscles and hip flexors, lie with the roller just above your glute muscles. Using the same up two, down one technique, roll from your upper glutes all the way to the top of your traps. Once you reach your shoulder blades, raise your hands up above your head to allow the roller to move smoothly over them. Remember to put extra emphasis on the tight spots.

Shoulders

After you finish rolling out your back, switch over to your shoulders. Using a roller or lacrosse ball, target the area in where your rear delt meets your upper back muscles. Take about thirty seconds on each side then switch to the front of your shoulder where your delts meet your pec muscles. Once you are done in this area, roll out your lats and triceps using the 2:1 method.

Rolling out and warming up your shoulders will get them ready to move how they should. This will prevent injury and allow you to train at your best. Our shoulders are meant to be a very mobile joint but for many people this is not the case. Rolling out your shoulders regularly is important for increasing shoulder mobility and unless you enjoy looking like a hunched over ogre, it is definitely something you should be doing.

Active Stretching

Now we are going to focus on warming up your muscles through their ranges of motion. For this, I like to do a set of ten to fifteen reps using the muscles that I am about to train. For example, on squat days I do lunges with an empty barbell on my back to warm up my quads, good mornings to warm up the posterior chain area, and some bodyweight squats focusing on warming up the hip area. Doing some active stretches will get your blood flowing and your muscles ready to work hard.

Burpees

Now that you’ve got blood flowing to these target areas, it’s time to warm up the rest of your body. Burpees are awesome for this. They will get your heart rate up and your lungs going. Do a set of 10 to 20 burpees, making sure that you are going through the full movement and getting a good jump at the top with your arms above your head.

Now that you are warm and loose, it’s time to hit your training hard. You should be feeling pretty good by now with your muscles and joints moving how they are intended to. By taking the time to warm up properly your training will improve and you will be on your way to achieving new heights in your sport. It only takes 10-15 minute and I promise it will be well worth your time and effort.

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