Doing exercise is a great way to improve your health and fitness which can result in people feeling more energetic and generally feeling on top of the world. However it is hard to do any exercise and become fitter with a pulled muscle that makes it agony to move.
This is exactly why we recommend that before you do any kind of exercise you make sure to take the time and warm up properly. However the majority of people don’t actually know what a “proper warm up” is? Well that’s why we are going to provide you with a simple routine to follow before you begin your workout that will only take between 5 and 10 minutes and ready to give 110%.
Dynamic Warm Up
- 2-3 minutes elliptical trainer (nice and easy)
- 25 jumping jacks
- 10 body weight squats
- 10 lunges (5 each leg)
- 10 Hip Rotations (“Stepping over the gate”)
- 10 Side leg swings (each leg)
- 10 forward leg swings (each leg)
- 10- 20 Press ups
- If you aren’t very good at press ups feel free to do elevated press ups instead.
- Shoulder Rotations
After doing all of this your muscles will be relaxed and ready for your workout. You may even find that performing a good warm up routine will help you to improve your workout as your muscles will be able to perform to the best of their ability. Stretching on its own can improve your strength but not a lot of people realise that and often think that it is unnecessary and a waste of time.
The Warm Down
During the course of a workout lactic acid can form in your muscles which is a waste product and it can hinder your recovery if you don’t help it to disperse. Stretching also helps to put oxygenated blood back into the muscles which will help improve your recovery time, so you shouldn’t feel stiff the day after training.
The first part of a warm down is to slowly lower your heart rate back down to a normal level. If I have just finished a workout on the cross trainer the first thing I tend to do is reduce the resistance on the machine to a level that allows me to catch my breath and my heart rate will slowly lower. I maintain this level for a few minutes then I perform some static stretches. I hold each stretch for between 15 – 20 seconds and they go as follows:
- Wall straight leg calf stretch
- Hands against the wall with straight arms, lean forward against the wall with one leg bent underneath you and the other straight behind you and try to push your rear heel down to the floor.
- Lying hamstring stretch
- Lie flat with your back on the floor and lift one leg up and grab behind your knee with both hands and pull it towards your chest.
- Side lying quadriceps stretch
- Lie on your side and grab your ankle or foot and pull towards your buttocks. Repeat on other side.
- Prone glute stretch
- Start in a press up position and then bring one knee up touching the floor and try to move the foot across your body until it is perpendicular.
- Toe Grab
- Sit upright with the soles of your feet touching each other and hold your feet together with your hands. Slowly pull the heels of your feet into your groin. (like the picture above)
- Lying abdominal Stretch
- Lie prone on the floor, put your hands beside your shoulders. While keeping your hips on the floor push your torso up and hold. Sometimes called a cobra pose.
- Doorway chest stretch
- Stand slightly angled away from the doorway frame, bend your arm and place against the door frame with your elbow at shoulder height and turn your body away from the doorway. Should feel the stretch in your chest.
- Bar Back Stretch
- Stand in front of a fixed bar, with one hand grab the bar at waist height then bend over a lean back and turn your upper body towards the stretched arm. You should feel the stretch going down your lats.