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September Fitness Tips

  • Published
  • By Michelle Walker
  • 169th Force Support Squadron

The perfect warmup

A great warmup routine readies your body and nervous system for a hard workout, eliminates your weak links, and improves your movement quality. The result? More muscle; less injuries.

This gets the blood flowing, clears waste from your muscles, brings fluids to your joints, and opens your body — often, folks who normally would feel drained beforehand find relief with a good warmup. Research also shows that warming up with your stretches, which actively move your joints through a full range of motion, enhances muscular performance.

Also, think of the warmup like getting your car aligned — the right blend of drills will improve your posture, set your muscles and joints in the right position, and keep you safe. Don’t stop with just getting your heart rate up, correct things like posture or imbalances and address what you want to improve in the weight room.

You make or break your workout before it even starts. Before you grab that barbell and before you pile on the plates, you need to warmup your body to perform your best every time. But are your warmup exercises helping you reach your full potential?  Better still, are your warmup exercises even helping your body resist muscle strain and injuries?

The biggest mistake is to gloss over warmup exercises.  That does nothing to increase body temperature, increase neural activation, warm up the joints, or get the nerves ready to go.

Instead, a great warmup routine helps you perform better in the weight room.  It’s not uncommon to see immediate improvements in the deadlift or squat.  There’s a strong performance incentive to have a good warmup session, not to mention stacking the odds in your favor that you won’t get injured.

Avoid the pitfalls of poor warmups and take a few minutes before every workout routine to prepare yourself, build more strength, and prevent injuries.

Instead, use the warmup to bulletproof your body.

Foam Rolling

You will want to always do the foam rolling first and then the warmup. This will remove the knots, trigger points, and scar tissue that accumulate in the body. Over time, you’ll restore your muscle’s natural length and reduce nagging aches and pains.

When you hit a tender spot or a trigger point, sit on that spot and let it dissipate, if possible shoot for eight to ten rolls per body part.

Spend a few minutes targeting the calves, quads, groin, IT band, glutes, upper back, and lats. Once you finish, it’s time for your warmup.

Supine Bridge

When we talk about performance and strength, the glutes are where it’s at.  Stronger glutes mean a stronger deadlift, squat, and even bench press. But when they’re weak, they force nearby muscles to compensate, reducing strength and increasing injuries.

How to do it: Lie on your back and bend your knees about 90-degrees. Squeeze your glutes, drive through your heels, and lift your hips. Avoid using your hamstrings. Repeat 10 times.

Split Stance Dynamic Adductor Mobilization

The adductors are the muscles on the inside of your thigh. (If you’ve ever had a groin pull, you know how annoying it is.) Often, our hips tighten because of too much sitting, which can cause pain and injure surrounding areas. To open the adductors, use the Split Stance Adductor Mobility.

How to do it: Get on all-fours and extend your right leg 90-degrees to the right. Keep your right leg straight, push your hips back, and keep your lower back arched throughout. You’ll feel a tremendous stretch in your groin. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

Quadruped Extension-Rotation

You cannot get enough mobility in your thoracic spine.  Some folks have a rounded upper-back and shoulders that slump forward, called “kyphosis”. Aside from looking unappealing, kyphosis can cause shoulder problems because it inhibits your joints. It also causes your shoulder blades to spread apart and bulge from your ribcage.

Yet much of that comes from lifestyle and training. People are sitting and flexing all day, getting locked into that posture.

To counter that bad posture, use the Quadruped Extension-Rotation.

How to do it: Get on all-fours and place your right hand behind your head. Keep your left elbow locked throughout the drill. With your right elbow, reach down then reach up to the sky, feeling a stretch in your thoracic spine. Watch your elbow the entire time. To accentuate the stretch, as you reach the top with your elbow, press your left hand to the ground. Repeat 10 times, then switch side.

Walking Spiderman with Reach and Hip Lift

The Walking Spiderman is probably one of the best mobility exercises anyone can do.  You’re hitting arms, legs, hamstrings, T-spine, and scapular stability all at the same time.

How to do it: With your left leg, lunge forward and to your left about 30-degrees. Place both hands on the ground while keeping your elbows locked and press your trailing knee to the ground. Extend your right arm to the sky while watching your hand with your eyes. Return both hands to the ground, then lift your hip and straighten your left leg to feel a hamstring stretch. Maintain a neutral arch in your lower back throughout. Stand up and switch sides.

Check out a few clean eating fall recipes for lunch and dinner!  Very healthy and easy to prepare!

Lastly, when using the gym please make certain to wipe before and after using any equipment. 

Thank you all!!