Open and Prepare Your Body for Exercise While Decreasing Your Recovery Time
By doing these 9 warmup movements before your workout, you’ll not only decrease discomfort and pain, but also put your body in its optimal state – meaning you’ll be able to exercise harder and lift heaver – and in turn see results more quickly!
EXERCISE QUICK GUIDE:
(pro tip: there’s a lot more to foam rolling than you’ve probably heard! – We’ll describe it here)
- 1. Roll out feet
- 2. Foam roll calves
- 3. Foam roll quads
- 4. Foam roll glutes
- 5. Foam roll inner/outer quads
- 6. Foam roll back
- 7. Banded shoulder stretch 1
- 8. Banded shoulder stretch 2
- 9. Quad buster
- Bonus: hanging leg raises
Realistically you don’t have to do every single exercise before your workout; but do make sure to do the movements that are relevant to your exercise planned for the day. For example, if you’re doing cardio or a leg workout then foam roll your legs. Set aside 5-15 minutes at the beginning of every workout for these exercises. Try them out and feel the difference!
Introduction to Bodywork/Foam Rolling
How many of you have ever experienced this stiffness, tightness, and immobility? When you can open up tight or overactive muscles before a workout with bodywork, then stretch them to ensure you have proper posture, you reduce the chance of injury and help yourself build a balanced, functionally fit body with longevity, so you can continue to look good and feel good for years to come! Always foam roll or get bodywork done before stretching and especially before working out to maximize your results.
FOAM ROLLING PRO TIP:
The underlying principle behind performing effective bodywork and foam rolling is pinning down the tightest/most tender spot(s) of the muscle with an object hard enough and with the right shape to pin that particular muscle down, and extending the muscle through a full range of motion, in all planes of movement (forward and back, side to side, and twisting). It’s the applied pressure plus range of motion that makes all the difference, not rolling back and forth.
1. ROLL OUT FEET
2. FOAM ROLL CALVES
3. FOAM ROLL QUADS
4. FOAM ROLL GLUTES
5. FOAM ROLL INNER/OUTER QUADS
You want to roll right in front of the IT band with a roller and do those leg extension movements, then take a softball and roll out the back of the IT band, with the same motion, while seated. For best results, comb along the IT band, front and back, all the way from your hip to your knee, performing extensions of the knee throughout the entire “combing”. This one hurts quite a bit but bear with it, the results are profound!
There are a couple other foam rolling techniques we will cover in future blog posts or by request, but for now, start doing these consistently and watch your mobility, recovery, and any chronic pain improve dramatically!
While it would be beneficial to do these every day, realistically I only do these about twice a week. Once leg day and maybe another day of the week. These are great but as a busy fitness professional, I don’t always have time. Most of us lead busy lives and don’t have time to do all of these every time, so initially for about 2-3 weeks it would be great to do these every week, then maintain with once or twice a week. If not, once or twice a week should be fine.
However, the next few warmups I talk about are 100% crucial to do every single time before you lift weights. There have been times I’ve been in a rush and every single time I neglect to do these, something hurts, back, knees, shoulders – ever since I learned how to warmup properly I can never go back to working out without a full and proper warmup. The same applies to my trainees, I won’t let any of my clients or athletes start their workout without a proper and full warmup of the following exercises, because it is my responsibility as a personal trainer and professional fitness coach to ensure those who I train are always optimal, always have the best workout possible, and never get injured even when we push past their limits.
6. FOAM ROLL UPPER BACK
On the 10th time, stay at the bottom with your head as close to the ground as possible, and perform 10 side bends, bringing your elbow towards your hip, then switching sides, performing a side to side motion.
Last, we perform a twisting motion in which we bring one elbow to the sky and the other to the ground, again 10 times!
Stand up afterwards and you might feel a little bit taller, your upper back is open, and your spine is in line! This is crucial because you will now have a safer back position on squats and deadlifts, and a safer/more optimal shoulder position on bench and overhead press. We spend hours sitting slumped over every day and this helps overtime to correct it!
7. BANDED SHOULDER STRETCH #1
This can also be performed with a doorway if you don’t have a band yet, or with the side of a squat rack. Start by grabbing the band/doorway/squat rack/anything you can grab onto and lean back with your hips, stretching your back. From there, alternate stepping back as far as you can with the left and the right foot 10 times, you’ll feel your back stretching different angles.
From there, cross one leg in front of the other 10 times. Lastly, bend forward, reach your hand and your head under your arm as far as you can, twisting your torso as much as you can, then stand up straight and reach back as far as you can, do this 10 times. You’ve now mobilized your back in all planes, forward and back, side to side, and twisting!
8. BANDED SHOULDER STRETCH #2
9. QUAD BUSTER
This one is a little bit technical. Take a band and fasten it between knee and hip height on a squat rack or pole. Put the band right under your pelvis so you can sit back on it. Walk back so it can support your weight and sit so your hips are below your knees, hold the band next to your hips so you don’t fall, and get your spine as vertical as possible, perpendicular with the ground.
From there, we shift our weight/hips forward and back, keeping our heels and toes down. Try to point your toes completely straight and not in or out. You’ll feel your hips stretch.
After 10 weight shifts forward and back, go side to side 10 times.
Finally, read this next part carefully because most people even working with a professional fitness coach get this wrong the first time. Take your elbow and put it on the inside of your thigh, right on the inside of your knee, and push off it, keeping your foot down. Use that push to extend your opposite arm straight back, reaching as far back as you can, and using the push off your elbow on your knee to get further back, then once you reach end-range, reach as high up as you can with that same arm that just reached back. You may hear your back pop and it’s going to feel amazing! Do these 10 times, stand up and enjoy your new hips. They’ll feel amazing!!!
Finally, if you spend more than 30 minutes a day sitting, which I could easily bet you do, I’d recommend doing 10-15 hanging leg raises to take your pelvis from a position of tilting forward, to a position of neutrality. This will activate your core and ensure that it stays active while you lift. For more info on how to keep your core active during your lifts or how to do more stretches, see our future blog posts!
Iron Orr Fitness is extremely proactive about ensuring that our clients use optimal form and stay injury free. One of the greatest benefits of investing in a personal fitness trainer is getting a much better quality of workout and seeing significantly better progress than if you worked out on your own, and one of the greatest values we can offer is a proper warmup and proper form!!!
Unfortunately, a lot of people, including trainers in many gyms I’ve been to, neglect performing a proper warm up before having their clients and athletes do exercises that can be dangerous if you don’t warm up properly after a day sitting in front of the computer in the office (or after training hard for weeks on end, to offer the other end of the spectrum). This is why at Iron Orr Fitness we hold 2 hour meeting every single Friday for the entire time they work at Iron Orr, as well as weekly 1-1 meetings to continuously learn more and more about training and customer service.
What if you don’t live in San Diego? That’s ok, we can still teach you – we can communicate online, and it all starts with learning how to warm up properly from this blog post!
Thank you, leave feedback, and stay tuned for more amazing content from Iron Orr Fitness, San Diego’s Team of Top 5 Best Personal Trainers, Voted a Top 5 Best Personal Training Business in San Diego, new blog posts every other week!