Every day we witness bodybuilders, runners, powerlifters and your average Mom or Dad walking into the gym, jumping on the treadmill, cable machine or in the squat rack performing their workout and immediately leaving. Little do they know there is one key component missing from their workout: stretching.
Stretching, whether dynamic or static is important before and after a workout to ensure a proper warm-up and cool down. Many individuals skip this portion usually because they say that they don’t have the time, but maybe we can convince YOU to reconsider that with this post before you pull a hammy or worse.
A proper dynamic stretch and warm-up is essential for al types of athletes in the gym ESPECIALLY those who spend the majority of their day sedentary at their desk job. We suggest starting off your session with a good foam roll hitting all of the large muscle groups of the body to loosen things up a bit. From there incorporating a dynamic warm-up will not only increase your heart rate and get that blood pumping throughout the entire body, but you will give your joints a chance to loosen up allowing you to perform your scheduled workout at your very best. What exactly constitutes a dynamic warm-up? Here’s a few of our favorite exercises that should only add about 10-15 minutes to your workout:
- Child’s pose diaphragmatic breathing: This will ignite the core muscles which as we know are key to almost every type of workout. Sit back into child’s pose and take about 8-10 deep breaths.
- Glute Bridge: Fire up the glute muscles which tend to be inactive throughout the day if you are sitting a lot. Perform 10-15 reps.
- Bear Crawl Hold: The Bear Crawl is a great exercise to stabilize the core and turning it into an isometric hold will brace your abdominal wall preparing you for the battle you are about to fight with your body.
- Walking lunges with an overhead reach: When reaching up, make sure you tilt slightly toward your front leg to stretch the hip flexor.
- Butt kickers: Exactly what they sound like- kick that butt!
- Alternating side lunges: Perform about 10 reps per leg.
- Inch worms: One of our favorite exercises to give our clients. These warm-up the arms, shoulders, core and give a nice stretch to the hamstrings. Total body!
Now that we have your warm-up covered, it’s time to go over what you should be doing post-workout. We do in fact recommend foam rolling the entire body again if time permits, however if you need to bounce out of the gym quickly make sure to perform some static stretching. What does that mean? Instead of dynamically moving to stretch your muscles, now you are going to hold the position for about 20-30 seconds. Feel free to give your entire body a good stretch or at the minimum stretch out the body parts that you worked that day. For example, if you had an intense leg day make sure to stretch the hamstrings, quads, abductors and adductors post-workout. The HumanX Gear Stretch Rope is an awesome assistant for those who may not be very flexible. Can’t touch your toes? This guy would be a great purchase for you- and the best part? It’s only $15! This Stretch Rope is a great tool to toss in your gym bag not only to stretch but to use as a guide for your plyometric exercises. Josh recently worked with our client Dave on plyometric movements using the rope as a tool. Check out what they did here: