The Perfect Total-Body Warm-Up

The right stretches can make ALL the difference

May 20, 2015
woman warmup stretching
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If you hate stretching before exercise, you're certainly not alone. It can be boring. And sure, it may seems like a waste of time when you're eager to get to the action. As it turns out, static stretching doesn’t improve performance or prevent injury prior to activity, according to Eric Cressey, C.S.C.S., a Massachusetts-based trainer who works with pros and Olympic athletes. 

"A better approach is dynamic stretching, or what I call mobilization," says Cressey. "The key is that you’re moving, just like you are during an activity.” Cressey recommends the combo of the four connected movements below to warm up your entire body in just a few seconds. Do 6 reps on each side before every workout. “It increases core temperature, lengthens and loosens tight muscles," he says. 

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Step 1: Walking High-Knee Hug 
Stretches your glutes and requires more than 90 degrees of hip flexion, a range of motion that challenges most desk jockeys. 
Do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, lift your left leg off the floor, and hug your left knee to your chest. 

Step 2: Offset Lunge 
Stretches your groin and legs. 
Do it: Release your knee, take a long step forward, and lunge deeply until your back leg is close to horizontal, placing the fingertips of both hands on the floor inside your left foot. 

Step 3: Overhead Reach 
Targets the middle of your back, stretches your chest, and activates your core. 
Do it: Keep your left fingertips planted as you rotate and reach up with your right hand. Both arms should form a straight line. Bring your right hand back down to the floor so that you’re in the Offset Lunge position again.

 

More: HIIT Workouts: What They Are & Why They Work

Step 4: Hip Lift 
Stretches your hamstrings. 
Do it: Keeping your hands on the floor, rock your hips back and straighten both legs. Focus on your right leg; straighten it as much as you can to feel your right hamstring stretch. Step forward with your right leg and stand up straight. Now repeat.

Adapted from The Better Man Project