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Better Warm-up, Better Workout

Your workout is only as good as your warm-up!

There are many different ways to go about a warm-up: static stretching, foam rolling, dynamic stretching, getting your heart rate up...what is the best thing to do?

I like to implement a combination of these practices in order to achieve an effective warm-up! The specifics will vary depending on the day, but the general philosophy remains the same for every workout.

Every one of my warm-ups consists of some form of dynamic stretching, exercises that activate specific muscles, and an exercise that mimics my main movement of the day!

Let’s give an example of what my warm-up for a lower body day would look like:

Dynamic Stretches: For a lower body workout, I will specifically look to open up my hip flexors, groin and lower back! For my lower back I will typically do some sort of combination of the cobra stretch and the cat-cow stretch. For my hip flexors and groin, I usually start off by getting into a squat as deep as I can and holding that position while rocking from side to side to start opening up my groin and ankles. After this I will move into unilateral movements where I put one knee down behind me and position my front foot on the ground so my knee is at a 90 degree angle. From here I will engage my glutes and try to drive forward through my front foot. I will go through this movement several times and at different angles!

Activation/Muscle Specific Exercises: Once I feel like I have gotten some better range of motion going, I move into some exercises to target specific muscles that I know will need to be ready to work once I dive into my workout! I will normally start with bodyweight lunges or bulgarian split squats to get my glutes and quads firing. From there I will move into some light good mornings to start waking up my hamstrings and lower back muscles, and lastly I will do some light face pulls and band rows so my upper back is ready to help me feel more stable throughout my workout. I will typically do 3 quick rounds of these movements one after the other.

Exercise that Mimics the Main Movement: This is the point in my warm up where I like to really start breaking a sweat. I always choose a movement that is similar to the major lift I am performing that day so I can start to get comfortable with the range of motion and movement pattern. So if I was doing a barbell back squat as my main lift, I may perform 1 or 2 sets of goblet squats to prime my body for the back squats.

This sort of routine is applicable to any sort of workout! It is all about selecting the right exercises and movements that your body responds well to. You should not expect to copy someone else’s warm-up routine to a tee and feel amazing: everyone is built differently and requires different amounts of preparation. So start applying these general principles and find what combination of exercises works best to make you feel good and ready to go!

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