Meet my BFF: the warm-up

These days fitness is more about being strong and moving well than anything else. I want to look my best, feel my best, and perform my best whether I am doing something active or moving furniture around in my house.  After my episode of 365 days of back pain about 24 months ago, I am pain free and back to my full strength.

I went from barely being able to step up onto a curb and eliminating all my favorite exercises, to back in full force enjoying the fitness world once again. One major thing has changed, that being how I warm up and cool down. I make it as much of a priority as the workout itself. It is important to increase body temperature, blood flow, and get the body moving through different ranges of motion. I find it “fun” to move and improve my body in different ways and know that my warm-ups will now be my best friend forever.

I have included two warm up variations that you can use solo or pair together to get the body moving and it is so much more effective than walking on a treadmill or an elliptical for a few minutes as a warm-up.

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From top left, clockwise. Hip flexor with triceps stretch. Seated torso rotation. Birddog.

Hip Flexor Triceps Stretch.

Start in a half kneeling position, as shown, with the right leg forward. Shift the weight forward to get a stretch in the left hip or quad, but make sure the front knee does not pass the foot. Keep the chest lifted. Take your left arm overhead like shown and lean to your right slightly and then return back to center. Repeat 4 more times and hold on the last for 20 seconds. Switch sides. Stretches the hip flexor, quad, triceps, lats and side waist.

Seated Torso Twist.

Sit on a chair or bench and place the hands behind the head without arching the back too much. Rotate from the mid to upper back to one side, pause, and alternate sides. Repeat 10x total. Improves mobility for the thoracic spine.

Birddog.

Start in a kneeling position on all fours. Find a neutral spine and extend the opposite arm, opposite leg until parallel to the ground. Pause and repeat sides. Keep your gaze down toward the ground and move slowly. Repeat for 10x total.

Also….

Check out this quick video to give you some ideas you can use to warm-up.  You can do these exercises with or without the band. 

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