Did you know that the best way to get the most effective workout is to warm-up beforehand? Even if you do know this already, are you actually warming up before you exercise? Even though you may not work up a sweat with your warm-up, you are doing your body a world of good. The CGS Team recently came across a great read from Self Magazine that shares some of the best stretches to improve your speed, strength, endurance and flexibility during your workout. Check out the moves below and why they are so effective.
“Angie Brambley-Moyer works closely with high-performing collegiate athletes—she trains the women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball, and lacrosse teams, as well as the men’s hockey team, so she’s pretty much a pro at running a killer strength program in addition to the warm-ups that make them count. So what’s your game plan? To help make your pre-workout minutes count, try five of Brambley-Moyer’s go-to dynamic stretches below.
#1 Leg Cradle To Side Lunge
How to do it: Stand on your left leg and lift your right leg of the ground opening your right knee to the right. Grab below your right knee with your right hand and above your right shoe with your left hand. Lift your right leg toward your chest, keeping it parallel to the ground (similar to a standing figure four stretch, but keeping your standing leg straight). Now release your right leg and step it out to the right, lowering into a side lunge on your right leg before returning to standing tall. Do fives reps on each side, alternating sides with each rep.
Why it works: This stretch improves mobility and flexibility of your hips, ankles, thighs, and knees. This comes in handy during lower body exercises like squats, where you need your hips and ankles to be loosened up to get the full range of motion, explains Brambley-Moyer.
#2 Back Lunge To Groiner
How to do it: Start standing and step your right foot back into a reverse lunge. Bend both knees to lower your butt toward ground while keeping your spine long. Now place both hands on the ground on the inside of your left foot and straighten your right leg behind you. Drop your left elbow and gently push it against the instep of your left leg. Pause, then return to standing. Do fives reps on each side, alternating sides with each rep.
Why it works: You’ll improve mobility in your knees, hips, ankles, and lower back, and increase flexibility in your groin and hip flexors, explains Brambley-Moyer. This dynamic stretch comes in especially handy if you’re doing any lunges with weights during your workout.
#3 Quad Pull With Tilt
How to do it: Start standing. With your right hand, grab your right foot behind you just above your right shoe. Standing on your left leg, begin to lean forward slightly while pulling your right knee up in air. Hold for five seconds, then release your foot and return to standing. Do fives reps on each side, alternating sides with each rep.
Why it works: You’ll get mobility benefits in your knees, hips, and ankles, as well as added flexibility in your quads and hamstrings, says Brambley-Moyer. Plus, this stretch challenges your balance, too.
#4 Hip Bridge With Reach
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at your sides. Push through your heels and lift your hips up. Once you’re at the top of your bridge, reach your right hand across your body toward the left shoulder, trying to touch the ground with your hand. Be sure to keep your hips still and stable throughout the movement. Then, return to arm back to your side and lower your hips to the ground. Do fives reps on each side, alternating sides with each rep.
Why it works: This works mobility in your knees, hips, shoulders, and upper back, as well as helps increase flexibility in your lats, oblique muscles, and hip flexors. The bridge helps activate the glutes for lower-body exercises, and the reach will help mobility with upper-body exercises, like pull-ups, push-ups, and any shoulder exercises, says Brambley-Moyer.
#5 Three-Point T-Spine
How to do it: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and knees below your hips. Place your right hand behind your head with your right elbow opening wide to the right. Now bring your right elbow down to point toward the ground while keeping the rest of your body still. Now extend it back up through the starting position and beyond, twisting your upper body to the right as you try to get your right elbow to point at the ceiling. Do this five times, then switch sides.
Why it works: Your mobility in your elbows, shoulders, and upper back should improve with this stretch, and so should the flexibility of your chest, explains Brambley-Moyer.”
As seen on The Right Way to Warm-Up Before a Workout by Self Magazine.
What warm-up moves do you do before you workout? Do you ensure to incorporate stretches into your exercise routine? We want to know what warm-up and stretch moves work for you! Post a comment below to share your thoughts!