We’ve always heard that stretching is important before a run or other cardio activity, but is it the best way to warm up? We asked to our experts the best way to prepare for a great cardio session.
Stretching before a workout has been historically promoted as a good way to get your muscles ready. Instead, save static stretches, where you hold a stretch in place for a long period of time, for the end of your workout.
“We want to increase fluid flow and get you ready for dynamic movement,” says Brendan Ryder, physical therapist with Renown Physical Therapy & Rehab. He recommends adopting a brief series of warm up exercises to encourage muscle elasticity and decrease risk for injury.
The exercises in this demo are shown in place but can be performed while moving across an open area.
Forward Lunge and Reach
Step forward with one leg into a lunge position. Make sure that your knee is aligned with your toe as you bend that leg. Stretch your torso up toward with sky with arms extended overhead. Alternate sides several times.
With your legs spread wide apart, lunge to the side and squat down low to the ground. Keep your heel grounded as you feel a good stretch in your inner thigh. Alternate sides several times.
Extend one leg in front of you with the heel planted on the ground and your toe pointed toward the sky. Bend over from the waist and sweep your fingers forward across the ground. Alternate sides several times.
While standing in place, pull one knee up toward your chest with both hands. Alternate sides several times.
Kick your foot behind you toward your backside, then kick up the opposite foot. This should feel like you’re hopping in place and feeling a stretch in front of the thigh. Repeat for about 10 seconds.
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