Top 10 Warm Up Exercises
Warm up exercises are basically your preparation to prevent any injuries after heavy and intense workouts. Contrary to popular depiction, warm up doesn’t really involve mere stretching. Static stretches as we call them that involves holding a position for a moment is not advisable since you’re putting your cold muscles immediately in pressure. Dynamic warm up, on one hand, utilizes stretching via a wide range of motions.
Performing this kind of warm-up exercises before doing the more intense cardio exercises or workouts will provide you with the following benefits: now that we know cold and stiff muscles do not really bode well to movement, warming up, therefore, is necessary since, as the name implies, it literally warms up the muscles; making you ready for some heavy and fluid actions. This is basically its main purpose.
Aside from reducing the risk of getting an injury for your muscles after workouts, it also makes your heart beat faster, enhancing circulation throughout your whole body in the process. And lastly, it simply gets you into the mood particularly when you’re feeling down and lazy. Read on and choose which sets of warm-up exercises you think is best for you.
Before performing the steps of each exercise, it’s important to maintain a proper starting position. When standing, make sure your body is upright straight (even when sitting) with your tummy tucked in and feet apart hip-wide. Always take a deep breath before commencing.
Top 10 Warm Up Exercises
Warm Up Exercises – Walking and/or Jogging
One of the most convenient warm-up exercises you can perform is jogging; even as simple as walking will do. Both of this, along with stationary cycling, marching (discussed after this), and other types of light aerobic exercise is better as you get to warm up your muscles before working out compared with outright stretching cold muscles first that is actually not advisable as aforementioned.
- For walking, bend your elbows at 90 degrees, with your fists not curled up and arms swinging gently. See to it that you extend your heel and it fully touches the ground before you roll forward with your toes.
- In jogging, make sure your body is in an upright position with your back standing tall. You can also jog in place for a few minutes.
Now if you have some issues that could hinder you, then it’s appropriate now to do some simple pre-run stretches such as hip and glute activation, leg swings, and hamstring sweep.
Warm Up Exercises – Marching in Place
Another light aerobic activity that is one of the best warm-up exercises as discussed above is marching. Again, you will feel yourself warming up, indicating your preparedness for a workout, along with your heart of course.
- Just like walking or jogging, you need to stand upright with your arms swinging in conjunction with your legs and without the tightened fists. When you lift your legs, make sure not to go higher than your waist.
- March in place for a couple of minutes, probably 20 to 30 times per minute, and try to increase your speed with each passing moment until your heart rate rises up as well.
Warm Up Exercises – Arm Rolling
This simple warm-up exercise helps loosen up your shoulders as well as the pressure in it and is also great for the upper arms. This can be an effective cardio too.
- In a starting position, hold out your arms to the sides at shoulders level. Keep both your shoulders down and your elbows straight. Then, gently rotate your arms in small clockwise circles, keeping them straight and not bent.
- After performing 10 full circles, repeat the process now in a counter-clockwise rotation, ensuring as well that your wrists do not bend and are at arms’ level.
- After doing some small circles, try to make bigger ones while increasing your speed. You can also put an arm behind you while you roll the other, then vice versa, or rotate both arms but this time, in opposite directions.
Warm Up Exercises – Shoulder Rotating
Warm up exercises should address your whole body, including your shoulders. This exercise, with Head and Shoulder Rolls as an alternative, obviously works by helping release the tension generated in your shoulders as caused by maintaining a bad sitting or standing position.
- After assuming a starting position, that is, you are already standing upright, put your hands on your hips and start rolling your shoulders. Complete a full shoulder roll by following a forward – upward – then backward direction.
- Following that will be your head. Simply rotate your head in a gentle clockwise motion, or toward your right side. Complete it by turning counter-clockwise, all the while properly inhaling and exhaling with each roll. Repeat these simple steps for about 15 times.
- You can also march in place with doing the shoulder-rotating exercise. Just have your arms hang loosely at both your sides while rolling your shoulders in the same motion. Do so at least 10 times before reversing the roll’s direction, all in a quick succession for 1 minute.
Warm Up Exercises – Knee Exercises
In this item, we will practice 2 different knee exercises.
- In Knee Circles, make sure your feet are shoulder-wide apart in your starting position. Although you can also keep your feet close together if that suits you. Bend your knees, with your hands on them, and slowly rotate them clockwise, keeping hip movements to a minimum. Do 10 reps before doing small circles counter-clockwise.
- In Knee Lifting, simply lift one leg up at least at waist level for a few seconds, sucking your stomach in and keeping your posture standing straight. You can keep your hands at your sides to practice your balance or hold it in position. Do at least 10 reps and challenge yourself by pulling your knee higher up to your chest.
Warm Up Exercises – Glute Bridge Exercise
Glute Bridge or Bridging exercise is not just a great warm-up; it is another effective knee pain or strengthening exercise that helps alleviate pain and pressure in the joints and boost knee stability during workouts. It does not only reinforce your core, it also augments your quads, hamstrings, and glutes or the muscles in your butt. Just avoid bridging or overextending your back too high.
- Start with lying on your back and bend your knees at 90 degrees, keeping your heels and hips flat on the floor.
- Slowly lift your butt upwards with your knees, hips, and shoulders all forming a straight line for 5 seconds. Focus also on clenching your rear end or butt while in the top position before lowering yourself down. Repeat the process for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Warm Up Exercises – Side Lying Rotation
Side-lying rotation helps slacken off your mid back, shoulders, and chest.
- Lie on your right or left side with your upper knee bent and the lower leg kept straight. Flex your hip so you’re facing up and your arms and your palms altogether straight out in front of you.
- Through the middle of your back, rotate your upper body by opening up your chest and upper arm in an arching motion. The upper arm now should at least be on the floor on the opposite side.
- After rotating back to your starting position, just repeat the process for a few repetitions before switching to the other side.
Warm Up Exercises – Kneeling Inner Thigh Mobilization
Kneeling Inner Thigh Mobilization does not only target the groin area, this dynamic mobility exercise also improves the length and mobility of the adductor muscles so they don’t form knots when they get stuck together. The adductor muscles are a group of muscles on the inner thigh and are named so for producing adduction, the movement of body parts toward the body’s mid-line.
- In a kneeling position, your hands and wrists should be underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. From there, straighten your right leg out to the side, 90 degrees from your torso, keeping your right foot and knee straight on the floor, and your toes straight ahead.
- Afterward, thrust your hips back as far as possible until you feel a stretch on the inside of your thigh. Then, rock forward past your starting position for as far as you can. Keep doing so for a few repetitions before switching to your left leg.
Warm Up Exercises – Kneeling Quad/Hip Flexor Mobilization
Quad/hip flexor mobilization is a warm-up exercise that helps stretch and lengthens the front part of your thigh and hips, addressing the common complaint of some with their hips being so tight. Now before starting, it’s better to curve your hip bones pulling your rib cages down.
- Start with a half-kneeling position. Your right leg should be bent at 90 degrees in front of you and your left knee on the floor. Grabbing your left ankle using your left arm, gently pull your left heel toward the direction of your butt or rear end.
- Your weight should shift forward as you pull your heel. Doing so, you will feel a gentle pull in your left hip and thigh. Carry on moving to and fro for a few repetitions before switching sides.
Warm Up Exercises – Back and Leg Stretch
Various stretching routine can be done, preferably 5 to 10 minutes after performing the aforesaid warm-up exercises and just before a workout session. Examples are 1) arm stretch and pull; 2) arm, leg, and torso stretch; and 3) heel-holding just to name a few. Back and leg stretch, in particular, has the following steps:
- In a sitting position, both your legs should be stretched out in front of you. Bend your right leg to the direction of your chest, crossing it over the left knee, and place your right sole just beside it on the ground.
- Holding your left foot and bending your head, slowly bend forward and try to maintain the position for not more half a minute then switch sides.
Choose one or mix some that best suits you. One thing is for sure: this entire set of warm-up exercises is guaranteed not just to flex your arms, legs, torso, or even your whole body, but prepares you well enough for the real deal of working out.