Lay the Foundation for Great Workouts

December 16, 2012 | Ryan J. Colquhoun

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Lay the foundation for a great workout with a dynamic warm-up. Skipping it may save time, but neglecting to take those extra minutes hinders your workout and increases your chance of injury. One of the most important things you can do before a workout, a dynamic warm-up gets your blood flowing and prepares your body for exercise. If you were going to play quarterback in the Super Bowl, you wouldn't just show up at game time and walk onto the field. Would you? No. Apply that lesson to the dynamic warm-up before your workout. (Read more articles on how to warm up.)

If the warm-up is so important, why do so many people skip it? To be honest, it's not the most exciting thing. But that does not diminish its importance. Getting your joints accustomed to moving and getting your blood flowing are major goals of a workout. Use the following dynamic warm-up with your normal warm-up sets, and have the best workout you've had in a long time.

Sample Dynamic Warm-up

Step One: Foam Roll

An often-skipped step in the warm-up process, foam rolling offers many benefits for a small amount of work. Foam rolling is essentially a free massage. It helps reduce soreness and tightnes, and it gets the body prepared for a workout. (See also Advantages of Using a Foam Roller Before and After Working Out.)

A simple order of foam rolling:

  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • IT Bands
  • Piriformis
  • Adductors
  • Quads

Spend 30 seconds to a minute rolling each body part. You can foam roll at any time during the day, but before and after a workout are definitely the most advantageous times. Within a few sessions of adding foam rolling to your workout, you'll feel a huge difference. (See how SEC East Champs Georgia use the foam roller.)

Step Two: The Warm-Up

This is where you get the body moving and the blood flowing. Don't think of it as wasted time. An efficient five- to 10-minute dynamic warm-up can serve as a cardio mini-session.

Perform each exercise in a 10- to 15-yard space (down and back) for a total of 30 yards.

If you're doing some upper-body work, incorporate Push-Ups, Pull-Ups and/or Inverted Rows to get your upper body working.

Step Three: Mobility Work

Without proper mobility, exercise form is compromised, which can lead to injuries.

Joint mobility can be a limiting factor in movements like the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press. Do a set of each of these before a workout. Between warm-up sets on the Bench Press, perform a shoulder mobility exercise until you reach three to four sets of mobility work.

Hip Circles and Hip Flexor Stretch

Sets/Reps: 1x10 per side and 15-second hip flexor stretch

These are great for the hips, which are generally tight from sitting all day. Hip circles can be performed forward or backward, and if needed, a hip flexor stretch can be incorporated as well. I personally like 10 circles to the front, 10 circles forward and a 15-second hold on the hip flexor stretch on each side.

Band Pull-Apart Series

Sets/Reps: 2x5 to 10

This is a great mobility exercise for the shoulders that will actually give you a pretty good burn. Pick any two or three exercises from the video.

Topics: WARM-UP
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