Cardio Warm-Up

This is a warm-up you should do before every cardio workout. It only takes 10 minutes and will improve your workout and help to prevent injury. The warm-up is divided into two parts:

1) General warm-up to elevate body temperature

2) Dynamic warm-up to activate and stretch specific muscles used during your workout

1) General warm-up: Walk or jog for 5 minutes to increase heart rate and elevate body temperature. Start at an easy pace and then gradually increase effort until you're just starting to sweat at the end of the 5 minutes. You can replace walking or jogging with another aerobic activity such as biking, rowing or skipping. The important part is that you increase your body temperature so you're ready to move into the next phase of the warm-up.  

2) Dynamic warm-up: The next phase of the warm-up consists of dynamic exercises intended to stretch and activate the muscles you will be using during your workout. Perform each of the 8 exercises once, and then repeat:

Walking lunges: 1) As you walk, lunge forward with one foot and lower yourself until your back knee gently touches the floor. 2) Push off the ground on your front foot as you drive your back foot forwards and go right into lunge position on the opposite foot. Repeat. (5 lunges/leg) 

High knees: 1) Run on the balls of your feet, but bring your knee up as close to your chest as possible on each step. 2) Keep your strides small and move your arms in opposition to your legs. (10/leg)

Butt kicks: 1) Similar to high knees, keep your strides small as you run. 2) On each stride, bring the foot of your back leg up towards your butt (so your heel is kicking your butt). (15/leg)

Walking single leg deadlifts: 1) Start by walking normally. 2) As you push off on your back leg, instead of bringing it forward lift it into the air and straight out behind you. 3) Keep your grounded leg straight as you lower your torso forward so it's parallel to the ground (you can put your arms out to the side for balance). 4) Hold this position for 2 seconds, then bring your back leg down and swing it forward so it's now your front leg. 5) Repeat with the other leg. (5/leg)

Monster walk: 1) Start by walking normally. 2) As you push off your back leg to bring it forward, swing your leg up high so your toes touch your opposite hand which is stretched out in front of you (or as close as you can get to your hands). 3) Make sure your leg is straight throughout the movement and your back is straight. 4) Go right into the next leg and repeat. (10/leg)

Knee cradle: 1) Walk normally, but bring your knee up to your chest on each step (similar to high knees). 2) When you bring your knee up, use your arms to hug your knee into your chest as you go onto your tip toes with your other leg. 3) Repeat with the other leg, and so on. (10/leg)

Leg swing (front/back): 1) Stand sideways to a wall with your left hand on the wall. 2) Keeping your left hand on the wall for balance, swing your right leg up as high as you can in front of you and then as far as you can behind you. 3) Turn around and repeat with the left leg. (10 front and back swings/leg)

Leg swing (side/side): 1) Stand facing a wall with both hands on the wall for balance. 2) Balancing on your right leg, swing your left leg as far as you can to the right and then the left, keeping your leg as straight as possible. 3) Repeat with your right leg. (10 side to side swings/leg)

That's it! Now that your muscles are warm and stretched you're ready to start your workout.