The Perfect Warm-Up for Every Workout (Video!)

Share it:
The Perfect Warm-Up for Every Workout (Video!)

Perform the following routine—which requires only a single dumbbell or kettlebell—before any cardio session, strength-training workout, game or competition. Also use it on your days off from formal exercise to loosen up and improve posture. Unless otherwise noted, hold the stretched position in each movement for a two-count, return to the starting position, and repeat as indicated.

1. SUPINE BRIDGE WITH REACH 

  • Lie on your back with your arms on the floor at a 45-degree angle from your torso, palms down.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, press your heels into the floor and lift your hips as high as possible off the floor, keeping them there throughout the exercise.
  • With both arms straight, extend your right arm up and across your body, rolling your shoulders to your left, and touch a spot on the floor a foot or two above your left shoulder.
  • Return your arm to the starting position and repeat using your left arm, keeping your hips bridged throughout the entire set.

Reps: Eight per side (alternating).
 Target areas: Shoulders, upper back, hip joints, glutes, lower back

2. QUADRUPLED EXTENSION/ROTATION  

  • Assume an all-fours position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
  • Place the palm of your right hand on the back of your head and keep it there for the duration of the exercise.
  • Keeping your hand in contact with your head, bring your right elbow down and across your body, reaching between your left arm and left knee.
  • Lift your right elbow back and up as far as is comfortably possible, turning your head as if to look at the ceiling over your right shoulder.

Reps: 10 per side.
 Target areas: Upper spine, shoulders, neck.
 Coaching cues: Don’t rock your hips back or forward as you rotate; keep your hip joints over your knees.

3. WALL HIP-FLEXOR MOBILIZATION

  • Stand facing a wall with your toes about 8 inches from the baseboard.
  • Step your right foot back and drop your knee to the floor (place a pad under your knee if necessary).
  • Take hold of your right ankle with your right hand and hold it there for the duration of the exercise.
  • Steady yourself with your left hand against the wall, press your right knee into the floor, and shift your hips forward.
  • Lunge forward on your left leg, pushing your left knee toward the wall, until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip and thigh.
  • Pause, then rock back to the starting position.

Reps: Eight on each side.
 Target areas: Hip flexors, glutes.
 Coaching cues: Keep your hips and shoulders square and your head and neck aligned with your spine throughout the movement.

4. ROCKING SUMO SQUAT MOBILIZATION

  • Stand with your feet parallel, about a shoulder-width-and-a-half apart.
  • Bend forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, by touching your toes, ankles or shins. Then place your elbows on the insides of your knees.
  • Keeping your lower back in its natural arch and your elbows pressing outward on your knees, bend your knees and lower your hips as far as possible.
  • At the same time, look up and lift your chest forward and upward.
  • Pause and return slowly to the starting position.

Reps: 10
 Target areas: Hips, hamstrings, ankles, upper back.
 Coaching cues: If you find this move difficult, do the same exercise holding on to a squat rack, suspension trainer or something solid.

5. ONE-ARM FARMER’S WALK

  • Stand holding a medium-to-heavy kettlebell or dumbbell in your nondominant hand.
  • Keeping your chest high, both shoulders back and level, and neck in neutral alignment, walk forward 30 to 40 steps (a circular or figure-eight pattern also works if space is limited).
  • Switch the weight to your dominant hand and walk back to the starting point.

Reps: 30 to 40 steps in either direction.
 Target areas: Shoulders, core.
 Coaching cues: “Minimize leaning to either side on this exercise,” says Gentilcore. “And don’t use too heavy a weight. Remember, you’re still warming up.”

6. ONE-ARM WAITER’S CARRY

  • Stand holding a light-to-medium kettlebell or dumbbell in your nondominant hand.
  • Press the kettlebell overhead.
  • Keeping your chest high, both shoulders back and level, and neck in neutral alignment, walk forward 30 to 40 steps (a circular or figure-eight pattern is also fine).
  • Switch the weight to your dominant hand and walk back to the starting point.

Reps: 30 to 40 steps per side.
 Target areas: Core, shoulders.

7. POWER SKIP 

  • From a neutral stance, propel yourself forward by quickly driving your right knee upward and hopping forward slightly on your left foot. Simultaneously swing your left arm forward and your right arm back.
  • Step forward with your descending right foot and immediately repeat the move on your opposite leg.

Reps: 10 to 15 steps per leg.
 Target areas: Hips, ankles, calves, core, and full-body explosive force.
 Coaching cues: As the name suggests, this is a normal skipping movement performed with extra speed and power.

—Andrea Heffernan for Experience Life

Related