To fully prepare your mind and body for a successful workout session your first goal should be to complete a full body warm up lasting about eight to ten minutes. The warm up begins to increase the blood flow to your muscles, increase muscle temperature, increase less viscous fluid around the joints, increase your heart rate and increase range of motion. A well designed warm up will include the major muscle groups and joints from head to toe. The warm up is designed to be done slowly and methodically with each stretch held for at least ten seconds.
1. Neck – Stand up straight with your feet hip width apart with slightly bent knees. Look straight ahead, now slowly turn your head to the left. Go as far as you can go and hold for ten to fifteen seconds. Go back to center and slowly turn your head to the right. Repeat four times to each side. Go back to center, now tilt your head back and hold for ten to fifteen seconds, bring your head upright and repeat four times. Now, put your chin to chest and hold for ten to fifteen seconds, bring your head upright and repeat four times.
2. Shoulders and Chest – Stand up straight with your feet hip width apart with slightly bent knees. Put your arms out straight out from you sides, parallel to the floor with your palms facing back, now slowly push your palms toward the wall behind you. Do not pump. Stretch your arms backward as far as you are able and hold for ten to fifteen seconds. Bring arms down to your side then repeat again four times. Shoulder circles – Again, raise your arms straight out from your side and parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Begin moving your arms forward in a circular motion. Begin with small circles and slowly move to large circles. After about fifteen seconds reverse the circles and go backwards beginning with large circles then move down to small circles. Do slowly.
3. Torso – Stand up straight with your feet hip width apart with slightly bent knees. With your arms at your sides slowly bend to the left and slide your left arm down your left leg. Go as far as you are able and hold for ten to fifteen seconds. Repeat four times. Stand up and repeat on your right side.
4. Hips – Stand up straight and hold on to the back of a sturdy chair. Raise your right leg slightly off the ground keeping it straight, begin to swing the leg forward and backward, slowly. Complete eight swings to the front and back on the right side then switch to the left. Next, keeping your leg straight lift your right leg and place it a bit in front of your left leg and begin to swing your right leg to the left then the right, again slowly. Complete eight swings to both the right and left with your right leg then switch to the left leg and repeat.
5. Knees – Lie down on a mat on your back with your arms by your sides and your legs together and stretched out straight. Place your hands under your right knee and bend your knee, now pull the bent leg toward your torso, as far as it will go. You hip will be flexed and the top of the thigh could be touching your abdomen. Pull your bent knee toward your torso and hold for about ten to fifteen seconds. Stretch the right leg out straight and back on the floor and repeat with the left leg.
6. Ankles – Stand up straight and hold on to the back of a chair. Lift your right leg straight out in front slightly off the ground. Begin to make clock wise circles with your right ankle, reverse and make counter clock wise circles. Make eight circles each way then repeat with the left ankle.
After stretching do two minutes of cardio; jogging in place, step ups, use a treadmill or an elliptical. You are now warmed up and ready to begin the exercise portion of the workout session!