You already know that you should warm up before working out. After all, it can help you perform better, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your focus. But warming up isn’t one-size-fits-all for all workouts. So what exactly should you do? Focus on the muscles that you’ll use the most during your workout, says Holly Roser, a personal trainer based in San Francisco and owner of Holly Roser Fitness.
There is one piece of exercise prep that you should do no matter what workout you’ve picked: get properly hydrated. (Not sure if you’ve had enough water? Here’s how to tell.) To make the most of your sweat session, the American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 fluid ounces of water two to three hours before you plan to exercise, then sip a cup of water 20 to 30 minutes beforehand. For an extra boost, add electrolytes with Emergen-C Hydration+, which tastes great and contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners. Then do one of the following warm ups that’s tailored for your workout (and learn more tricks to power it up here).
Running: Power walk for three to five minutes, moving your arms from side to side as fast as you can. “This helps warm up your upper body, especially the shoulder area,” Roser says. Then jog for five minutes. Shuffle sideways for one minute on each side, then run backwards for two minutes. Do 45 seconds of butt kicks and 45 seconds of high knees. From there, hit your usual running pace.
HIIT workouts: Do 45 seconds of each of the following moves: jumping jacks, high knees, sidekicks (alternating legs), squats, and butt kicks. Then do 30 seconds of each of the following: squat jumps, lunges, burpees, and mountain climbers.
Barre: Warming up your inner thighs and calves is critical, Roser says. Start by doing 25 jumping jacks, and then jog in place for two minutes (focus on being light on your toes). Follow that with 25 plie squats, 25 leg circles with each leg, and 25 calf raises.
Indoor cycling: Sitting up straight on the bike, do five shoulder shrugs and five arm circles in each direction. Grab your arms behind your back to stretch your chest muscles for 30 seconds. Pedal at a comfortable pace at light resistance for three minutes. Then pick up the pace for the next seven minutes, switching between light and medium resistance.
Rowing: You really want to prep your upper body. Start by swinging your arms in front of you. Bring them behind your back, touching hands together. Repeat 10 times. Then do 30 seconds of arm circles in each direction; 45 seconds of mountain climbers; eight to 10 squat jumps; 45 seconds of push-ups; and 45 seconds of burpees. Then hop on the rower: Row on the lowest resistance for three minutes, and then on medium resistance for three more minutes.
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