You may be tempted to skip over the seemingly tedious task of stretching and jump right into your workout, but taking time to warm up before exercising is important to prevent injury, pain and strain in the body. If your muscles are tight from the day or from a night of sleep and you workout without stretching properly, the muscles are typically tight and your body will be underprepared. Exercise is wonderful for promoting strength, but stretching allows us to maintain our mobility and flexibility, making exerting our bodies a lot easier.
The best kind of stretches to perform before workout out are dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are an active form of stretching that send the muscles and joints through their full range of motion. This allows the body to increase muscle temperature and alleviate stiffness in the muscles and joints. They can also help to improve speed and agility while exercising. Protect your muscles with these ten stretches to prime your body for your workout.
1. High knees
Begin to jog in place. Extend your arms out long in front of you. As you jog in place, begin to lift one knee up to the height of your arm, rapidly switching legs. Keep your core engaged and continue for 30 seconds to a minute.
2. Jumping Jacks
Stand with your legs together and your arms down by your sides. Jump into the air as you spread your legs and extend the arms overhead. Jump again to bring your legs back together and arms back down by your sides. Keep a slight bend in the knees as you move and continue for about a minute.
3. Standing quad stretch
From a balanced standing position, direct your right foot toward your right glute and grab it with your right hand. Encourage the foot toward the glute, stretching your right quad. Hold and breathe here for around 30 seconds to a minute and then switch sides.
Begin standing and take a step forward with your right leg. Bend your right leg at a 90 degree angle and keep your left leg strong, engaged, and parallel to the ground. Engage your core and place your hands on your hips or the ground. Come back to a standing position and repeat on the left side.
5. Standing toe taps
Begin in a standing position. Extend your right arm forward and kick your right leg so that your toes touch your fingers. Keep the leg extended but with a slight bend in the knee and core engaged. Lower your right leg and repeat on the left side. Continue for around ten rounds on each side.
6. Hip Circles
Stand with your feet hips width apart. Place your hands on your hips and begin to circle your hips clockwise. Keep a small bend in the knees as you move in circular motions. Continue in this direction for around 30 seconds before switching directions and repeating the same cycle.
7. Leg swings
Stand steady with your legs hip width apart. You can hold onto something to keep balanced if needed. Begin to swing your right leg forward and back in one long swift motion for ten swings before switching sides.
8. Squat jumps
Begin in a standing position with your feet hips width apart. Squat down before pressing into the feet to jump into the air with straight arms and legs, landing in another squatting position. Repeat for around 30 seconds.
9. Arm circles
Extend your arms out long to the side at shoulder height. Begin to make large circles with the arms in one direction for about 30 seconds. Switch directions and continue.
10. Butt kicks
Begin to run in place. From here, start to kick your heels into your glutes one at a time as you jog to stretch out your quads. Continue for up to a minute.