By Ashley Lipman
Want to climb to new heights in your regular exercise session? Effectiveness depends on your warmups a lot more than you probably realize.
Dynamic warmup techniques are now the gold standard when it comes to warming up in the world of sports, cheerleading squads, dance teams, and a host of other high-intensity team efforts.
But before we get into the 10 top tips for warming up as a team (that also works for individuals, of course!), be sure you start your warmup with plenty of energy. Get that fire burning with a caffeine boost just before getting started, especially from intense, high quality brew, will boost both immune system resistance and energy levels to help you perform better while training!
Getting your muscles and your body “warm” through a dynamic warmup routine will pay huge dividends in the long run. We can promise that you will feel the difference the first time you try it. Here are the 10 top tips we promised for effective warmups:
1. Full Body Warmup Exercises
The first secret is to warmup your whole body not just part of it – and if you include these seven elements, in two 10-rep sessions, routinely before your main exercise or practice session – you will get your whole body ready for what’s ahead. And that makes all the difference.
2. Dynamic Warmup Exercises
The second general tip is that you use dynamic rather than static exercise moves to warmup. Dynamic movements will activate and engage your muscles and body parts, improve range of motion, and actually boost muscle strength so your exercises will feel easier later on. Just remember that’s it’s much easier to keep your body moving once you get it moving with dynamic warmup moves.
3. Lunge Twists
Start with a lunge-twist, a forward-moving lunge combined with a sideways twisting motion. The lunge stretches your hips, legs, and lower body in general. The twist will stretch your mid to upper back area.
After lunging forward (not too far), do a hip-drop. Then do a slow twist to the side. Alternate which side you twist towards.
4. Knees Chest-high
Element number two of your dynamic warmup: moving your knee up toward your chest as if in a full run. Walk forward a bit as you switch knees or do it standing in place, whichever works best for you.
Hug your shin as you step and pull the knee-cap up toward your chest. This will help you keep your balance and gain leverage.
5. High Kicks
To get the hamstring muscles warmed up and expand your range-of-motion, include high-kicks in your warmup routine.
Kick one leg up at a time till the toes touch the palm of your hand, and extend the arm on your opposite side for better balance as you kick. And kick higher and higher as you continue until you reach your “full kicking potential.”
6. Hip-stretch Plus Twist
To stretch your back and also get more movement out of your hips, try a hip stretch with a twist. This exercise is often used by people whose jobs force them to sit down in a chair all day – but it will benefit everyone who does it.
Lay down as if to do a pushup, but then raise one foot at a time till you can touch the foot with your hand. Keep your back flat to the floor and your hips down all the while. While in full upright position, twist to the opposite side with your opposite hand extended straight up.
7. “T” Push Ups
Here is a simple one. But it’s very effective for warming up your upper body and shoulders. It’s just plain old pushups, except that as you come back up from the ground you suddenly shoot one arm straight up into the air and hold yourself stable like that for a moment before continuing. Alternate hands and keep your form, and you’ll benefit greatly.
For the lower body, here is an advanced movement you can add into your routine once you’re ready for it. Jump-squats must be done fast and with lots of power, so again, they’re very advanced.
Standing with each hand on its hip and feet shoulder-width apart, squat down till your hips are almost touching the ground – then suddenly jump high up and land softly and firmly.
Another advanced and optional add-on for your dynamic exercise routine is the jump-lunge. It also does wonders for the lower body region.
Stand with hands behind head and one foot stretched straight out ahead, lower your hips toward the ground. Then, suddenly jump up with force, switch which leg is extended while in mid-air, and land on the opposite foot. This requires a good deal of balance, which is mostly why it’s considered “advanced.”
10. Team Work
Finally, if you are warming up as a team, do it exactly like that – “as a team.” Everyone needs to be in sync and fully participating or it will discourage the team spirit. And if anyone is struggling, team leader or a friend must stop when appropriate for a minute to show the way forward. To win as a team, you have to exercise as a team – and to do that, you have to warmup the same way.
Take the time to develop and customize a dynamic, full body warmup system for yourself and/or your team. It will be a major piece of the puzzle of being your best and meeting your personal and team goals.
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