The 5 Moves That Athletes Swear By
As a fitness editor, I've been lucky enough to train alongside some of the world's best professional athletes and their coaches. I've worked out with Olympic runner Carmelita Jeter, spent time on the football field with Marshall Faulk, and even spent some time doing basketball drills led by the LA Lakers coaching team. Out on the field, these sports differ vastly from one another, but during each training session, the coaches took us through very similar warmups.
Whatever the workout, the trainers and coaches I speak with echo the same idea. A warmup isn't a laid-back scenario. Think of it as a series of exercises that mimic the same type of movements you'll be doing during the actual workout. The key difference is to perform these moves at a much slower pace to allow the body to adequately get itself ready for the motions you're putting it through, which is key in injury prevention. Yes, your heart rate should be up, but not so much that one would accuse you of running at a sprint pace. Before you hit the gym tonight, take yourself through these five moves, and you'll be training like the best of them!
Leg Balance Warrior 3
This exercise fires up your core by challenging your balance. As you move in and out of the pose, you also get the benefit of working your butt and legs.
- Stand on your left foot with your right leg lifted to 90 degrees and your right knee bent.
- Reach your torso forward as you lengthen your right leg behind you. Reach your arms overhead for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor. Keep your left knee slightly bent.
- Hold this position for a moment, and reach through your right heel to engage the back of the right leg.
- Moving in one piece, bring your right leg forward and return to standing upright. This completes one rep.
- Do 10 reps, then switch sides.
Reverse Lunge With Reach
This move help to fire up your legs and arms while also testing your balance.
- Stand with your hands at your waist, and step back with your left leg into a deep lunge. Increase the stretch by lifting your left arm overhead and reaching to the the right.
- Return to standing, and repeat this move on the other side to complete one rep.
- Do 10 reps.
Before launching into a workout, it's important to warm up the body and elevate the heart rate — this move does just that while also offering the legs a big stretch.
- Skip in place by hopping on your right leg while bringing the left knee up toward your chest.
- Engage your abs as the knee comes toward your chest.
- Switch legs, and keep skipping while pumping your arms.
- Continue for 30 seconds to one minute.
Get your heart pumping and warm up quads with this appropriately named exercise.
- Stand tall on the balls of your feet, hips-width apart.
- Similar to jogging in place, bring (or "kick") your heels to your butt rapidly, alternating legs for 30 seconds to one minute.
Hamstring Toe Touch
Warm up the hamstrings with this move. Just be sure you stand somewhere where you have plenty of room to walk.
- Step forward with your right foot, and swing your left leg out in front of you, chest high or as high as you can go. Keeping your back straight, reach out with your right hand to try to touch your toes.
- Lower your left leg down a little bit in front of you. As you step forward, swing your right leg up to repeat the movements on your right side (using your left hand to touch your toes and grab your foot).
- Repeat, alternating legs for 30 seconds.