10 Best Exercises for Warm-Up
Before beginning any intense workouts, it is essential to do warmup sessions. Even if the activities are not intense, you still need to warm up before getting into it. Such exercise helps the body and muscles relax and open up for the physical activity that follows.
You can do your warm-ups for only 5 minutes, which should be enough to prepare your body. Warmups provide protection, and if you comply with this process, you reduce your risk of injuries during your workouts.
In terms of benefits, you will be incorporating an excellent exercise routine. Warmups are easy to do, and even professional athletes never skip them.
A good stretch may alleviate a lot of pain, which helps avoid injury. If you don’t know any warmup exercises, we have picked out some of the best ones that are easy to do.
#1 Side-Lying T-Spine (Thoracic) Rotation
You may be surprised to learn that the muscles primarily responsible for spinal rotation aren’t in your back; they are located in the external oblique abdominals, which are not linked to the spine.
The warmup technique works on these muscles through their full range of rotation while stretching the sides of the lower back.
This exercise also stretches the glutes and hips, which can be helpful if you suffer from sciatic nerve pain.
- Lie down on your back and bend your right knee bringing it over your left side, so it looks like it will touch the floor.
- Grab behind the right knee with your left hand to hold it down.
- Have your right arm out to your right side flat on the floor. Your palms should be facing up in this position.
- Now bring it to the left side to touch the other palm without bending your right arm.
- Rotate your head to follow your right hand while it’s in motion.
- Do this again about 10 to 20 times.
#2 Prone Cobra
The prone cobra movement done for a warmup is a variation of the cobra pose used in yoga.
This exercise is an isometric hold that is excellent for relieving back pain and preparing your body for movements in the thoracic and lumbar spine.
It is corrective and beneficial before a workout after a day spent at your desk. Make sure you rotate your shoulders externally before performing this exercise, so don’t skip the thumbs-up motion with your palms facing outward.
- Lie down with your stomach facing the ground and your hands resting on both sides with palms down.
- Lift your chest and torso off the ground as far as you can, and your chin should be tucked into your chest.
- Lift your arms off the ground, and your thumbs point up towards the ceiling while you open your shoulders. Make sure your palms are directed away from you.
- Breathe through your nose and keep opening your shoulders. You can stay put in this position for 30 seconds or longer if you can hold it. You should be able to do up to 3 minutes at one go.
- Repeat the movement for up to 3 minutes. You can rest between each set.
#3 Arm Circles with Reach
The shoulder joints are very mobile and are prone to injury. Since many people spend most of the day sitting and working in front of the computer, the shoulders can become tense and weak over time. Your arms will benefit from this exercise.
- Stand tall with your core engaged and keep your shoulders straight.
- You’ll need to stretch your arm behind you until it’s time to flip your arm around, with your palm facing forward.
- Next is to reach as far back as possible but make sure your hips remain straight.
- Flip your palm forward and have your arms rotate overhead before bringing it in front of you.
- This time again, try reaching forward but faster while still standing straight.
- Do this warmup five times repeatedly and then switch sides to repeat the same motion.
#4 X Plank
This warmup is for strength building and also flexibility. It will help improve endurance around your arms and back.
It will also warm up your shoulders, giving you a good stretch, especially in your lower back area.
- Get into a push-up position with your arms extended.
- Push hips up and back with your torso bent at the waist.
- Still in the same position, pick up your left hand and swing it down and across your body to touch your right foot.
- Switch sides to repeat steps 2 and 3, so you are back to the push-up position.
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 on the other side, bringing your right hand to your left foot.
- Repeat steps 2 to 5 for 10 to 20 times.
#5 Gate Opener
The gate opener exercise focuses on your pelvis, lower body, and core muscles. It improves your flexibility and the movement around your hips while at the same time creating stability and balance.
This exercise will help prepare the psoas muscles that run from your lower back region through your pelvis down to your femurs.
These muscles help stabilize your back, so activating them in your warmup will protect you from injury in your hip joint during workouts.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed forward.
- Keep your arms by your sides and engage your core, pulling your shoulder blades back and down.
- Transfer your weight to your right side and raise your left knee till it’s near your belly button height. Move your right leg in and across the midline of your body. Your left knee should cross over your right leg.
- Move your raised left leg out to the left, opening your hip as far as you can. Your core should be engaged with your hips facing forward.
- Return the knee to the center in slow motion and lower back to the starting position by lowering your foot to the ground.
- Switch sides and repeat ten times for each
#6 Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
This warmup stretches your hip flexors. These are a group of muscles in your hips and upper thighs used when you jump, walk, run, or do other motion activities.
- Kneel on your right knee, with your left foot almost directly in front of your right knee. Make sure your arms are gently tucked to the sides of your torso.
- Push hips forward and then bring your arms forward and raise them, stretching them over your head with your palms toward each other.
- Stay in this position for 2 seconds.
- Switch position for step 2 and then move to your starting position.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3, 15–20 times.
#7 Lunge with Hip Opener
This type of lunge that features a hip opener movement is not like the regular lunge. The lunge adds rotation and abduction in the hip instead.
This warmup lunge is an active movement that helps build stability in the hips to prevent injury.
- Stand tall, take a long stride forward with your right foot, and keep your left foot behind.
- Lower your torso toward the floor while bending your right knee and lowering your left leg almost to the floor.
- Set your right knee slightly in a position that makes it rotate to the right. Make sure to keep your right foot planted.
- Open your left leg slightly by rotating it gently and slowly to the left. Stay in that position for a brief moment before returning to the starting position.
- Switch sides and repeat ten times for each side
#8 Lateral Bear Crawl
The lateral bear crawl will engage the core, arms, legs, and back muscles. It is a warmup that targets strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, and balance.
It can be difficult because your legs are bent throughout the exercise. The lateral bear crawl helps build coordination and has found its way in many sports.
- Get into a push-up position, but bend your knees at a 60-degree angle. It should look halfway as a squat.
- Place your left leg and right arm to your left, however far it takes to bring your right hand next to your left hand.
- Step your right leg and left arm to the left, bringing your right foot next to your left foot.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you can.
- Switch steps 2 and 3 as many times as you did them.
- You can repeat this warmup 10 to 30 times.
#9 Banded Row
It can be difficult doing workouts involving movement at your back. Performing a banded row will help to strengthen your back muscles. It also warms up your shoulder joints and shoulder blades.
- Place a resistance band under your feet and hold the handles in your hands. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed slightly out.
- Keep a slight bend in your knees and bend forward at your hips. Keep your core engaged and your back flat.
- Pull the handles of the resistance band back, leading with your elbows and bringing your shoulder blades closer together. Feel the contraction in your upper back and hold for one count.
- Release slowly to the starting position and repeat the workout ten times.
#10 Bodyweight Squats
Bodyweight squats help warm up the glutes and hip flexor muscles. It also significantly impacts your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and abs.
This warmup gives you full-body movements and will be great for your central nervous system.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and your toes pointing straight ahead or slightly outward.
- Place your hands on your hips or in front of your body.
- Make your hips hang backward while you bend your knees simultaneously, and then keep the weight on your heels.
- Lower your hips toward the floor. Maintain a straight back. Continue lowering until you feel a stretch in your quadriceps.
- Pause and hold this position for a while before returning to the starting position by pushing through your heels and extending your hips.
- Repeat ten times.
Why Do We Need to Warm Up Before Exercising?
A fast warmup session will prepare your body for your workout session, enhancing your performance and lowering your chances of injury.
Many people are guilty of proceeding straight to the workouts, which is not a healthy way to exercise. Any exercise you do must start with warmups, or you can do a little stretching.
How long should the warmup take?
Most fitness experts advise that warmups should be done between 5 to ten minutes. Also, there should be at least a two-minute gap between your present workout and the next one.
Here are some of the reasons why warming up before exercising is essential:
- It promotes joint lubrication, allowing you to be more flexible.
- It gets you in the mood for the workout.
- It warms up the muscle tissue, making you more supple and increases your flexibility.
- It enhances your blood flow, boosts your metabolism, and raises your body temperature.
- It raises your heart rate so that the exercises do not overstress your body.
- Stretching before jogging will increase the motor unit, making your workout more efficient.
Keeping fit is good but also doing it right is better. Many people make the mistake of jumping right into exercises without warming up. Not many have been lucky with this because it ends up in injuries.
Now that you know the benefits of warm-ups, remember to do so before you begin your workout routine.
Warmups don’t always have to be complicated. You can start with the basic stretches or any of these ten warmups listed for you.
They are easy to perform, and it would only take 5 minutes of your workout time.