You plan every training session; what areas of the body you want to focus on, the exercises you’re going to do and your reps and sets. But do you put the same effort into the one thing that could make or break your workout?
Stretches are essential pre-workout, and dynamic stretches are key to priming your body for the work that’s about to come. Dynamic stretches mimic the movements of your workout but without weight or speed.
Because so many of us workout in the evening, having spent most of the day hunched over a computer screen, warm-ups should focus on the most problematic areas of the average body – the hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, glutes and core – with dynamic warm-up exercises, which mean you move the body as you stretch, rather than hold it still.
1. Spiderman with thoracic rotation
This exercise benefits… hips and thoracic spine
- Begin in a full plank, then step your right foot outside the right hand.
- Push down through your left hand and lift your right up towards the ceiling, twisting through the spine.
- Lower the right arm and reach under the body towards the left hand.
- Then reach back up and repeat.
- Do 6-8 per leg.
2. Pigeon stretch
This exercise benefits… glutes and hips
- Begin in a full plank, then bring your right leg forward and place it on the floor, with the knee behind your right hand and the foot behind your left.
- It’s likely to feel tight to begin with.
- Lean your torso forwards over the leg to feel a bigger stretch, then return to plank and repeat on the opposite side.
- Do 6-8 per leg.
3. Shin box
This exercise benefits… hips and glutes
- Start sitting on the floor with your right leg bent at a 90 degree angle in front and your left bent at a 90 degree angle behind you.
- With your arms outstretched in front of you, lift your knees up off the floor and rotate to recreate the same position on the other side with the opposite leg in front.
- Do 12 full rotations.
Related article: Your Yoga Cool-Down Routine To Compliment Your Workout Efforts
4. Iron cross
This exercise benefits… hips and lumbar and thoracic spine
- Lie on your front with your feet together and your arms to the sides.
- Face your head to your left hand and then reach your left leg over your right leg to reach towards your right hand keeping both shoulders touching the ground.
- Bring the leg back to its original position and repeat on the other side.
- Do 8 per leg.