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8 Dynamic Warm Up Exercises That Help Prevent Injury
Don’t risk injury: it’s crucial to warm up before you exercise. Unsure of the best warm up exercises for your routine? Your friends at Jack City Fitness are here to teach you how to warm up properly and avoid injury.
Ready for a successful workout or even an eventual body transformation? Begin with the proper foundation! Without engaging in some warm up exercises, you could risk getting injured. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to prepare your body for a workout. No matter what your fitness style may be, there’s an enjoyable and effective way for you to warm up before you exercise.
We checked in with our crew at Jack City about their favorite lower, upper, and full body warm up exercises. They had plenty to say. We’re here to share their insights with you now.
How Does Warming Up Prevent Injury?
The concept of a warm-up spans many activities and concepts, from singing to playing sports. The end goal remains the same: by giving your body the chance to warm up, you are preparing it for the activity ahead.
A great analogy for the benefit of warm up exercises can be explained using a protein bar. If you put a bar into the freezer, take it out and try to bend it, what will happen? One of two things: it’ll either remain solid, or your protein bar will snap in half. However, if you let it warm up on your counter for a while, it will bend with ease. Your body functions the same way. Attempting to exercise with stiff muscles can result in injury that, believe us, you’d rather avoid.
What Are Some Ways to Warm Up Before Exercise?
Some athletes prefer to prep specific body parts per their daily routine, while others go for a full body warm up. Here are a few of each for you to try:
Our Favorite Upper Body Warm Up Exercises
This simple warm up will prep your body for arm day. Plus, arm circles and will even provide a gentle workout.
To try it yourself, plant your feet on the ground, right beneath your shoulders. Lift your arms and extend them outwards so that they run parallel to the ground.
Beginning with small movements, circle both your arms forward. Be sure to keep your arms straight the whole time. Gradually, make the circles bigger and bigger.
After ten seconds, switch directions.
This warm up routine will ensure that your shoulders can withstand any workout.
For performing a face pull, you will need a resistance band. Secure your band to a stationary surface. When it’s attached, and you’re ready to begin, hold on to each side of the band with your palms facing in. Bring your shoulder blades towards another with a big squeeze, and begin to pull the resistance band backwards towards you. Hold and then return to your beginning position. Repeat for three sets of ten reps.
Back to Wall Shoulder Flexion
This warm-up works your shoulders, particularly your scapulae. Back to Wall Shoulder Flexion is very simple to perform and requires no equipment other than a wall.
Give this warm-up a try by standing with your back to a wall. Be sure to keep your back nice and straight. Your feet should be about 6 inches away from the wall.
Bring your chin towards your chest in a ‘tucking’ pose. You want your palms facing outwards, with your thumbs touching the wall. Bring your arms up and over your head so that you’re in a Y-shape. Your back should remain against the wall. Bring your arms down to rest, and then repeat for three sets of ten reps.
Our Favorite Lower Body Warm Up Exercises
FAST Hip Rocks
This warm-up prepares your— you guessed it— hips for a larger workout. The name also implies speed, but FAST stands for ‘Forward, Angle, Side, Traverse.’
To perform FAST hip rocks, begin by kneeling on your mat: one foot will be in front of you, kneeling, while the other will be flat on the ground behind you.
Start by rocking your body back and forth, leaning deeply into your front knee. After five reps of this, shift your front foot so that your leg is now diagonal to your torso. Do five more reps of your rocking movements at this new angle. Then, bring your front foot over to the side of your body and again, do five reps of rocking. Finally, bring your foot to a transverse angle (that’s diagonal and backwards,) for a final set of five reps.
Switch your legs and repeat the entire sequence at least ten times.
Though jump squats are a proper workout in their own right, they also make for an incredibly effective lower body warm up.
Performing a jump squat means that you start by planting your feet on your mat, about shoulder width apart. Then, put your hands on your hips and lower yourself into a squat— you want your hips to be parallel to your mat. Next, jump up! Land as softly as possible, and repeat the whole thing. We recommend 2-3 sets of 5 reps.
Our Favorite Full Body Warm Up Exercises
Lunges are a classic warm up move and can be used to begin any workout. Runners and joggers particularly love them. There are several lunge varieties: front, side, back, or even side with a twist all make for great pre-workout routines.
Today, we’ll focus on a basic front lunge. To perform, begin in a standing position, with an engaged core and your feet hip-width apart. Start by bringing your right foot forward in a big step. You want to do this while bringing your weight forward— your heel should be the first to land. Lower your body, bringing your right shin vertical, and your thigh parallel to the mat. If you can manage, tap your left knee to the floor— but don’t shift the weight from your right heel. To come back into your starting pose, push into your right heel, and move back up. Switch sides and repeat for 15 reps. We usually do about 3 sets of reps here.
Most athletes have warmed up with a walkout plank at some point in their careers— it’s a popular choice for sure! It can be done anywhere, any time, so it’s a great way to begin a home workout.
To perform a walkout plank, begin at the back of your yoga mat, with an open chest, and your arms extended towards the sky. Look upwards. With a straight back, bend yourself forward at the hips and lower your hands to your mat. Then, physically ‘walk’ your hands down your mat so that you’re eventually in a plank position. With each step, you can hold to give your calfs a little extra stretch, too. Hold the pose before walking your hands back over to your feet. Slowly come back up, vertebrae by vertebrae, keeping your head lowered the entire time— it should be the last thing to straighten. Repeat 6-10 times.
Whatever you’re warming up for, we’re here to see you through. At Jack City Fitness, athletes of every level have a supportive and engaging space to work out, hone their game, and connect to likeminded people. With a passionate team of fitness and nutrition coaches, a dynamic selection of in-house classes, 24/7 gym access to all partners, and options for custom online or team sessions, there’s no better spot in Boise to get fit and feel great.
Are you ready to get started? Get in touch with our crew today by dropping us a line here or calling (208) 999-1111. We can’t wait to see what you’re made of!