Warm Up Exercises
For those who are training for certain events or just regularly workout, you know the value of starting up with a good warmup routine. Warm up exercises are important in fitness training because they help you to avoid risking injury to your muscles while working out. These exercises are key before beginning a rigorous workout as they prepare your muscles and joints as well as improve circulation for optimal cardiac function.
When you warm up, you are literally warming the muscles which helps them to become more flexible and reduces the strain from more intense exercises, especially for strength training. We’ve listed some easy and simple warmups you can do for a quick pre-workout.
These warmup exercises will help to prepare your body for an effective cardio workout. These light exercises will gradually increase your heart rate to deliver optimal blood flow to the muscle tissues. Before doing any type of cardio such as walking/jogging, rowing, cycling, or swimming start off with a moderate exercise for about 5 minutes before getting into the workout.
Jumping Rope – A great starter exercise to get into cardio workout is jumping rope. Keep to a moderate pace for 5 minutes if you can to slowly increase your heart rate and body temperature to give your body a jump start into an effective cardiovascular workout.
Overhead Reach and Stretch – Stand with feet spaced shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Extend the arms overhead stretching upwards until your hands come together. Exhale as you bring your arms down and to your toes bending your torso. Allow your hands to cross each other so that your right hand is touching the left foot and the left hand to the right foot. Bend the knees slightly then come back up again while inhaling. Repeat the movement slowly for one set of 8-10 repetitions.
High Knee March – Stand with your feet placed hip-width apart. Bend your elbows so that your hands are about chest-level then bend your knee bringing it up as high as you can and lower it back down. Repeat with the other leg. Continue the movement alternating between legs at a slow steady pace for a set of 10 repetitions each.
Side Leg Raises – For this exercise stand beside a chair or something sturdy that you can hold onto for support. While holding onto the chair stand on one leg. Lift your other out to the side as high as you can while keeping it straight. Swing your leg back down until it crosses over your other leg. Repeat the movement for a set of 5-10 repetitions while gradually increasing the range of motion for each leg.
Torso Twist Stretch – Stand with your feet placed hip-width apart. Bend your elbows with your arms out to the sides while making a fist so that your hands are beside your ears. Bend your left knee and raise it as you twist your torso so that it reaches your right elbow. Return back to the starting position and repeat the movement twisting in the opposite direction as you bend and lift your right knee to your left elbow. Continue the exercise alternating sides for 30 seconds at a slow, steady pace.
Strength Training Warmups
Before you get into the heavy lifting, start out with these warm up exercises to gear your muscles for dumbbell exercises and weight lifting workouts without taking a chance of adding undue strain on your muscles.
Arm Swings – Stand straight with your arms extended straight out at the sides and elbows slightly bent. Swing your arms in front of your chest crossing them over each other. Complete the movement 10-20 times.
Rocking Lunge– Begin this warmup by taking a deep lunge bringing your left leg forward and both knees slightly bent as your starting position. You could also bring your right knee to the floor. Then you will straighten the left knee so that it will lengthen the left hamstring. While rocking your weight back and onto your right foot, flex your toes of your left foot in order to stretch your calf as well. Return back to the starting position and repeat the movement for a total of 10 reps for each leg.
Walk Outs – Stand straight then bend at the waist while bringing your hands to the floor and ‘walking’ them out forward coming into the plank position. Once you come into the plank position, perform one push up. Bring your hands back towards your feet coming into the downward dog position. Repeat the movement ‘walking’ back out to the plank for 10 repetitions.
Body Weight Squats – Complete 10-20 squats using just your body weight. Stand with your feet placed slightly wider than hip-width apart and arms down at your sides with palms facing towards your body. Push your hips back while maintaing a straight spine and lower your torso shifting your weight on your heels. Lower your torso until your thighs are parallel or nearly parallel to the floor without bending your knees past your toes. Come back up to your starting position.
Hip Rotations – Start out on hands and knees coming into a push up position with your feet together, toes on the floor and palms flat. With your head straight in line with your spine and keeping your back straight, bring in one knee towards your armpit. Exhale as you’re doing the movement. Bring your knee towards the opposite armpit across your torso rotating your hips as much as you can. After a brief pause, rotate your hips in the opposite direction so that your knee is pointing away from your body. Be sure to keep your spine straight throughout the movement as you rotate your hips as much as possible allowing your leg to cross the other supporting leg. Alternate sides for a set of 5 reps per leg.
These warm up exercises are ideal for pre-gaming your muscles and cardiovascular system to get into your workout. Many fitness trainers skip warming up because they find it takes up too much time and they’re in a hurry, however 5-10 minutes of warmups can optimize your workout while reducing your risks of injury. Some exercises may need to be modified and adjusted to suit your fitness level.