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The Importance of Warm Ups

Have you ever wondered if you NEED to warm up before a workout and if so, what is the best type of warm-up? You may have heard of dynamic stretching vs. static stretching. Dynamic stretches are the best type of warm up prior to beginning your workout because it involves movements that extend the muscles, while static stretching involves extending a set of muscles and holding the position.

The purpose of dynamic stretching is to increase blood flow to muscles, increase functional mobility and to maximize flexibility preparing the body for movement. We need to warm up the body to help prevent any injuries. By not incorporating a warm up at all or just incorporating a stretch before you begin your workout can cause injuries.

So, what exactly are exercises that are considered dynamic stretches… here are a few to get you started.

Jumping Jacks:

*Stand with your feet together, holding a dumbbell at both ends and elbows tucked in by your ribs.

*Quickly jump your feet apart and press the dumbbell overhead. Return to the start. Repeat as quickly as possible.

Nearly every major muscle in the body is recruited with jumping jacks. Not only will this increase your heart rate and warm your muscles, but you will be engaging core, legs, arms, shoulders, chest, and back.

Side Shuffle:

*Stand with your knees slightly bent

*Keeping the weight on the balls of your feet, push off with one foot

*Step sideways at a quick pace for 3-4 steps and switch direction repeating to the other side.

The Shuffle will raise your heart rate, warm up the body and improve your flexibility. It also helps strengthen your hip flexors and all major muscles in your hips, thighs, and legs.

Plank Walk Out:

*Standing with feet shoulder width apart,bring hands down to the floor

*Walk out to a plank, keeping hips low so your body is flat.

*Hold for a breath and walk back in.

The plank walk out is a total body dynamic stretch that warms the body up and gets the blood flowing to the muscles while stretching your hamstrings, calves, glutes and lower back.

Lunge Twist:

*Step forward with one foot, lowering your body into the lunge position. Be sure your knee does not extend past the toes.

*Twist the upper body to the right from your midsection. While engaging the core, squeeze glutes, and be sure not to rotate the knee.

*Bring the arms back to the center

*Step the right foot back and return to the starting position. Alternate right to left

The forward lunge helps stretch the hip flexors and activates the legs, glutes, and hips, while the twist stretches out the upper and middle back, activating core rotation.

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