Here’s what happens when you skip the opportunity to loosen up: Your body doesn’t feel too great. Not during your workout, and definitely not after. Trainers will tell you that exercises for warming up are an essential step in any workout.
Warming up with a few quick exercises actually helps you get more out of the rest of your workout. (It gives your body a much-needed heads up of what’s to come.) Think about it this way: You wouldn’t just jump into an important Zoom meeting without preparing for your presentation ahead of time. Your muscles and joints need to be prepared in order to be successful. “A quote I use often is ‘motion is lotion,’” says Katie Merrick, a Gold’s Gym personal trainer. “A tight body is more prone to get injured if you try to move it too quickly or lift too heavily without your muscles being prepared.”
So don’t skip your warm-up—a step that’s just as important as your workout itself. The exercises in these videos will allow you to give it your all at every workout, whether you’re going on a five-mile run, doing a virtual HIIT class, or dancing it out.
The best exercises for warming up
1. Running warm-up
This warm-up from trainer Traci Copeland is a quickie way to get ready for your runs. There are only 11 exercises, which you go through in just 5 minutes.
2. Yoga stretches for flexibility
If you really want to stretch out your body before a workout, this yoga flow with instructor Andrea Russell will hit every single muscle in 8 minutes.
3. Runner’s warm-up
If you have a little more time for your runner’s warm-up, this 7-minute option ensures your entire body is ready to go.
4. Full-body mobility workout
By doing this mobility workout from trainer Ash Wilking before your workout, you’re preparing your body for movement and can even reduce your risk of injury. It also only takes 10 minutes.
5. Runner’s cool-down dynamic stretch
You might think dynamic stretching is something you do after your workout, but it’s great beforehand, too. It warms up your body and gets you ready to take on whatever type of movement you’ll be doing.
6. Full-body stretch routine
If you’re extra tight and really need to loosen up, this full-body stretch routine from trainer Charlee Atkins uses a lacrosse ball or tennis ball to target your hips, back, shoulders, and beyond.
7. Post-workout recovery stretches
Sure, these are great post-workout stretches—but they’re also great for warming your body up before your workouts, too.
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