8 Exercises to Add to Your Warm-up

By: Megan Lambert

Before the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians began Game 7 of the World Series last night, each team warmed-up on the baseball diamond, throwing, catching, jogging, stretching, etc.

Just like an MLB player, athletes and weekend gym warriors need to warm-up their muscles before lifting weights, running, or doing cardiovascular exercise. Consequently, check out the following eight movements designed to prepare the ankles, hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine for exercise.

  1. Standing hip circles

For this movement, stand on one foot and bring the other leg up to a 90 degree angle. Take your knee up, out to the side, and back behind your center of mass to make a complete circle. Make 6-10 circles forward and then reverse the motion to make 6-10 backwards circles with the same leg. Repeat with the opposite leg.

  1. Sumo squats

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes facing forward. Bend down to touch your toes and then drop your hips as low as you can, keeping your knees pushed out and your chest up. Then, raise your arms above your head and push through your heels to return to a standing position. Repeat for 6-10 reps.

  1. Monster walks

Place a small resistance band two inches above your knee. To begin, stand with your feet shoulder width apart in a ¼ squat position. From here, push off of your left foot while maintaining your squatting position. Then, bring your right foot back underneath your center of mass to return to your original position. Repeat these movements over a 10-15 meter area, and then repeat in the opposition direction.

  1. Band pull-aparts

Hold a resistance band straight out in front of you, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. For this exercise, your goal is to try to pull your hands as far apart from each other as you can. This is be accomplished by pinching your shoulder blades together. Repeat for 10 reps.

  1. Open book stretch

Lie on your side with your knees bent to 90 degrees. From this starting position, place your arms out to the side. Keeping your legs on the ground, move your top arm across your body to the ground on the other side of your body. The goal is to open up your chest and to increase mobility in your thoracic spine. Repeat for 6-10 reps each side.

  1. Scorpions

For this movement, lie on your stomach with your arms straight out from your sides. Bend one knee to 90 degrees and lift your hip off the ground by squeezing your glutes and driving your heel in the air. From there, reach your heel across your body toward your opposite hand. You should feel a stretch through your abdomen and hip flexor, as well as in your mid-back.

  1. Walking straight leg deadlifts

To begin, stand on one foot. Reach one foot straight behind the body while keeping your torso in a straight line. It is important to keep your core engaged during this movement so that your spine stays in a neutral position, meaning it doesn’t flex or extend. Another tip for the extended leg is to lead with your hamstrings. This places the tension in your leg, not in your lower back.

  1. Inchworm

Stand with your feet together. Keeping your legs straight, reach down toward your toes. Once in this position, walk your hands out in front of you until you are in a push-up position. From here, walk your feet back up to your hands. Repeat this process for at 15-20 yards.

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