The Essential Pre-Workout Ritual You're Probably Not Doing

POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart

Look, I don't want to sound like a nagging parent here, but you really have to start foam rolling. And not just after your workouts! It's actually crucial to warm your muscles up ahead of time before you jump right into exercise.

I picked up this tip the other day from my trainer, Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, and PhD candidate, as she had me work on my IT bands, glutes, and quads. She was warming me up before the warm up — and I was really into it.

Foam rolling ahead of your workout gives you more mobility and allows you to do more when you're exercising. Here's how she explained it: "Basically, the fascia that surrounds the muscle is a good thing, but it can become adhered to bits of the muscle tissue, causing the muscles to be restricted in movement. Think of it like if a pair of leather pants stuck to your skin as you were trying to squat — you'd want to separate the pants from your skin!"

As someone who had considered foam rolling a recovery-only technique, I was surprised to learn how essential it is for warming up and loosening muscles for mobility. I took Liz's advice to heart and foam rolled before a Barry's Bootcamp class and definitely felt the difference. Give it a shot — it only takes a minute or so, and you'll be doing so much good for your body.