A complete and effective day at the gym encompasses way more than how heavy your bench was, or how many reps you nailed on your favorite machine. Once you’ve properly fueled your body prior to getting to the gym, your next priority should include a warmup to prep your body for your workout.
Give your warmup an update with these 10 mobility exercises, and stop using those same stretches your learned in physical education in high school.
Why Do it: To activate and strengthen the glutes and deep hip flexors.
Do it: Lie on your back with your right knee raised toward your torso. Keep your knee as close as you can to your torso while pressing your left foot into the ground to perform a single-leg bridge. Push through your heel and focus on squeezing your left glute. Perform 15 to 20 reps and switch sides. Complete 2 to 3 sets.
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Why Do it: To activate and strengthen your shoulder, core, and hip stabilizers.
Do it: Hold a weight at your side (suitcase/farmer’s carry position) and hold a weight at arm’s length above your head (waiter’s carry position). Now walk 100 to 200 feet. Switch arm positions and repeat. Perform 4 to 6 rounds.
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Why Do it: To promote internal and external rotation of your hips.
Dot it: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, roughly shoulder width. Bring your knees to the side to lay your legs on the ground. You should form 90-degree angles at your knees, and your legs should be 90 degrees to each other. One leg will have the outside of the knee on the ground, while the other leg will have the inside of the knee on the ground. Bring your knees up and to the other side while pivoting your feet. Repeat as much as needed
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Deep Squat With Single-arm Overhead Reach
Why Do it: To increase the mobility of your squat while extending your thoracic spine.
Do it: Stand with your feet almost shoulder-width apart. Bend over and touch the ground. Squat down and push your knees to the outside of your arms. Keep your feet flat on the ground, chest up, and arms straight. Take one arm and reach it overhead with your thumb pointing back. Return that arm down and switch sides. Perform with the other arm. Raise your hips without letting your hands leave the ground. Return to the bottom of the squat and perform as many reps as necessary.
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Kneeling Hip-flexor Stretch With Overhead Reach
Why Do it: To promote deep hip-flexor flexibility and hip mobility.
Do it: Kneel down on one knee with the other leg in front of you. Transfer some weight toward your front leg and push your hips forward. Squeeze your glutes and then reach up with both arms and lean past your midline. Hold for as long as needed, then switch sides.
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Forearm Wall Slide With Liftoff
Why Do it: To promote shoulder mobility and to activate and strengthen scapular muscles.
Do it: Kneel a few inches away from a wall and place your elbows and forearms on it. Ensure your forearms are parallel and squeeze your glutes. Next, slide your arms up the wall. As your arms move upward, lean into them. Once you can’t slide them up any farther, shrug your shoulders and, without moving your body, lift your arms off the wall. Return your arms to the wall and return to the starting position. Perform 2 to 3 sets of 12 reps.
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Sphinx to Front Knee Plank
Why Do it: To activate and strengthen scapular protractors and your core.
Do it: Lie on your stomach with elbows and forearms on the ground. Push into the ground with your forearms to lift your chest up and protract your shoulders (Sphinx position). Slowly lift your upper back, then your lower back, and then your hips off the ground. Bring one knee to the same side arm. Keep your shoulders directly over your elbows and feel concave in the front of your abdomen. Hold this front knee plank position for 10 to 15 seconds, then return to the Sphinx position. Repeat for 6 reps and perform 2 to 4 sets.
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Kneeling Quad Stretch With Band Distraction
Why Do it: To promote quad flexibility and hip mobility.
Do it: Stand inside a band, attached to an anchor point, with your right leg. Move away from the band so it’s taut. Kneel down with your right knee, left leg in front of you, and right foot resting on a box. (Think the down portion of a Bulgarian split squat.) Push your right hip forward and squeeze your glute. Hold for as long as you need, then switch sides. Perform as often as needed.
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Kneeling Arm Circle on Wall
Why Do it: To promote thoracic spine extension and rotation, shoulder mobility, and hip flexor lengthening.
Do it: Get into a lunge position next to a wall, with one side of your body touching it. Raise the arm that’s against the wall up until it’s next to your head, turning it so your palm faces the wall. Continue until it’s at your side. Repeat for as many reps as necessary to feel good.
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T-spine Extension With Foam Roller
Why Do it: To promote your thoracic spine’s ability to extend.
Do it: Lie on the ground with your upper back on a foam roller, hands clamped behind head. Exhale, then try to arch your back over the foam roller from the top of your shoulder blades to the top of your lower back. Repeat daily or as often as needed.