8 Moves You’re Not Doing Before Your Workouts But Should

engaging key muscles in your body

Warming up before starting your workout is the first basic rule of exercising. However, warming is more than just get your heart racing and blood pumping. You also need to start engaging certain key muscles in your body so that they’re prepped for heavier workouts. Warming up should also focus on parts of your body that support the muscles and joints, like tendons, ligaments, and sinews. Doing so helps prevent injury and muscle tears. Add these exercises to your warm-up routine for full body warm-up.

1. Total-Body Foam Roll

improve range of motion

Foam rolling can improve range of motion during a workout as well as reduce soreness afterward. It’s great to remove adhesions and loosen knots in soft tissue, so your muscles and joints can move freely.

Starting with your calves, use a foam roller or lacrosse ball on all your major muscle group: hamstrings, glutes, quads, IT bands, and shoulders. Spend more time on sore or tight areas.

2. Hip-Flexor Stretch

good stretch can increase the mobility

Tight flexors can prevent proper movement in exercises like squats and lunges and set your body up for injury. A good stretch can increase the mobility of your hips.

Kneel on your right knee with hands behind your head. Squeeze your right glute as you press that hip forward. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

3. Marching Hip Bridge

wake up muscles that have become sleepy

This move is great to wake up muscles that have become sleepy because of all the sitting you do. It helps energize your body and prep it for some serious workouts.

Lie on your back with knees bent. Lift your hips until your knees and shoulders form a straight line. Alternate lifting your left leg, then your right. Do 10 reps on each side.

4. Standing Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretch

Flexing your ankles is important

Ankles bear the weight of your whole body but hardly get any attention. Flexing your ankles is important because stiff ankles put extra stress on knees and hips when you do anything that requires ankle flexion, like running, jumping, and step-ups.

Place both hands on a wall with one foot staggered two to three feet in front of the other, the front foot a few inches away from the wall. Slowly drive your front knee toward the wall, then back to start. Do all reps on that side, then switch legs.

5. Open Half-Kneeling Thoracic Rotation

ligaments to work in sync

This move is great to ease tightness and gain better posture which allows your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments to work in sync. This move engages postural muscles, open your chest, and warm up your shoulders.

Kneel on your left knee, right foot flat on the floor in line with your left knee. Place your left hand on the floor directly under your shoulder and raise your right arm; pause, then bring it down between left arm and leg. Return to start. Do all reps, then switch sides.

6. Reaching Squat To Stand

ensures proper form

This move turns on everything that needs to work and ensures proper form during total-body moves. It’s actually better than doing body weight squats.

Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, arms raised overhead. Bend at your waist to grab your toes. Then lower your hips down into a squat position, knees outside your arms. Lift your chest and raise your arms overhead one at a time, then stand.

7. Single-Leg Reach

create better mind-body coordination

As you launch your head and feet in the air, this move helps create better mind-body coordination and communication.

Stand on your left leg and raise your right arm. Lower your torso and lift your right leg behind you. Return to start. Perform all reps on that side, then switch legs.

8. Alternating Lateral Lunge

Lunges are great to bring more balance and engage the core. They are also compound movements which means you’re working on multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, step your right foot out into a side lunge, pause, then drive off the right leg to return to start. Perform all of the reps on that side, then switch legs.