I think it is safe to say most people who strength train have made the mistake of lifting without warming up – next day they wake up with joint and muscle pain, and are set back days while they recover. All dynamic movement, from weight lifting to a team sport or a labor intensive job, should be preceded by a joint mobility warm up. Also, with the increased amount of careers that involve computer work and hours at a desk, it is important to focus on mobility and stretching exercise to combat those hours of sitting – which can play havoc on your joints and muscles. Five to ten minutes pre-exercise, or at various moments throughout your work day is all you need…see below for a list of suggested warm-ups and movements.
- Single Leg Hip Flexor Stretch: get into a walking lunge position, and let one knee drop completely to the ground. Once stable, tilt the hips forward and hold 1 minute. Repeat with other knee.
- Hips/Glutes: lie on your back with your right foot on the wall, hip and knee flexed to 90 degrees. Cross the left ankle over the right leg, just above the knee and press the left knee toward the wall and hold for 1 minute. Next, pull the left knee toward the right shoulder and hold for 1 minute. Repeat on other leg.
- Shoulder Engagement: Lie flat on your back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Start with both arms relaxed and extended close to the body with backs of hands touching the floor. Slowly drag hands across floor towards the head and away from the body, maintaining contact with the floor. Repeat the motion 15-20 times or until the shoulder feel loosened.
- Basic Tricep/Shoulder Stretch: Sitting on a bench, bring one arm up and in line with the head. Let the elbow bend and lower arm/hand fall toward the back. With your other arm reach across and gently pull the elbow towards the back. Hold for 1 min each side.
- To Finish: use a foam roller and slowly roll over the mid and upper back (avoid the lower back and neck), outsides of the thighs and calves. Spend 1 min on each muscle or until you feel it release.