We know all the reasons guys use to avoid warming up before a workout: “It’s boring.” (If this has been your experience, then you’re probably doing it wrong.) “I don’t have enough time.” (Actually, you do.) “All I need is a couple of warmup sets and I’m ready to lift.” (Not really.)
A decent warmup will improve your range of motion in the joints that need to move. It also enhances the stability of those that don’t, reducing your risk of injury. A good warmup jumpstarts your central nervous system, priming your muscles to play sports and to handle more weight so you can accomplish more in less time. And a great warmup can do all that in just 10 minutes.
DIRECTIONS: Perform the following five moves before every workout. Do 1 set of each, without resting between sets. After you finish, you’re ready to lift.
HOW TO DO IT: Kneel on all fours so your back is flat and your arms are straight, palms flat on the floor. Place your right hand on the back of your head. Keeping your left arm locked, rotate your shoulders until your right elbow points inward. Then reverse the move and raise your right elbow toward the ceiling as you turn your head and upper back as far to the right as you can. That’s 1 repetition. Do 8 and repeat with your left side (perform it perfectly after watching this video).
Targets: Shoulders, upper back
KNEELING INNER-THIGH MOBILIZATION
HOW TO DO IT: From the same kneeling position, straighten your right leg and move it to the side so it’s perpendicular to your torso; keep your right foot on the floor, your toes pointing straight ahead. This is the starting position. Keep your back flat and push your hips back as far as you can. (For most men, that’s 6 to 8 inches.) Now push your hips forward, past the starting position. (Again, 6 to 8 inches.) Return to the middle. That’s 1 rep. Do 6 to 8 reps and repeat with your left leg.
Targets: Groin area
HIP RAISE WITH REACH
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Place your arms 45 degrees out to your sides, palms up. This is the starting position. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Now lift your right arm and shoulder off the floor and reach for the ceiling; then reach across your torso and tap the floor just behind your left shoulder. Return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep; do 8 and repeat with your left arm, tapping the floor behind your right shoulder on each repetition (see how to perform the move by watching this video).
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, middle back
HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart facing a bench that’s 30cm to 45cm high. Bend at your hips and place your hands on the bench (don’t round your back). Step back with your right foot as far as you can and lower your body until your right knee is a couple inches off the floor. Extend your right arm in front of your body and—following it with your eyes—move it in a clockwise circle, above your head, behind your body, and back to the bench. Step forward to return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do 5 and repeat with your left arm and leg (see how to perform the move by watching this video).
Targets: Hip flexors, middle back
KNEE LIFT TO WALKING LUNGE
HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Raise your right knee, grab your kneecap with both hands, and pull your thigh toward your chest. Release it, take a long stride forward with the same leg, and lower your body into a lunge. (Even better, reach up with both arms as you lunge.) Pause and return to standing by bringing your left (back) foot forward to meet your right foot. Now bring your left knee to your chest and lunge with that leg. Bring your right foot forward to meet your left foot. That’s 1 rep. Do 5.
Targets: Glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, chest
Ready to work out now? Test your entire body with The Men’s Health Total-body Fight Plan.
By: Tony Gentilcore