Weights warm-up

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

1) General warm-up to elevate body temperature

2) Gross motor movements to work major muscle groups

3) Dynamic warm-up to activate and stretch specific muscles used during the 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) Calisthenics (gross motor movements): The second phase of the warm-up is to perform whole body exercises to work the major muscle groups. These exercises should be performed slowly, focusing on great form:

Rear lunge and reach: 1) Start with hands on hips and feet shoulder width apart. 2) Move one leg backwards (into a rear lunge) while lifting hands straight into the air. 3) When back knee is just skimming the ground, push up to bring yourself back to starting position and bring your arms down. 4) Repeat with the other leg. (10 reps/leg)

Squats: 1) Start with hands on hips and feet shoulder width apart. 2) Bend your knees and bring your butt towards the floor. 3) When your thighs are approximately parallel with the floor, straighten your knees to stand back up and repeat. (10 reps)

Pushups: 1) Start with your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders and your legs straightened behind you. 2) Keeping your core strong (not dropping your hips), lower your chest towards the floor by bending your elbows. 3) Straighten your elbows to bring yourself back to plank position. Easier option - Knee pushups: The same exercise as regular pushups but start from your knees instead of your toes. Easiest option - Wall pushups: 1) Stand approximately 2 feet away from a wall. 2) Bend your elbows so you bring your nose as close to the wall as possible. 3) Push away from the wall by straightening your elbows. (10 reps)

Windmill: 1) Stand in a wide stance with arms extended sideways and palms facing down. 2) Squat down and bend to left, bringing right hand to touch left foot (keeping legs straight). 3) Return to starting position and repeat on other side. (10/side)

3) Dynamic warm-up: The final phase of the warm-up consists of dynamic exercises intended to stretch and activate the muscles you will be using during your weights workout. These exercises are more focused on speed and agility:

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)

Skipping: 1) Step and then hop into the air as high as you can, landing on the same leg. 2) Repeat the action with the other leg. 3) Move arms in opposition to legs. (10/leg)

Crossovers: 1) Start in a wide stance perpendicular to the direction you will be moving (with arms out to side for balance). 2) Bring rear leg over front leg and then bring front leg forward to return to starting position. 3) Bring rear leg behind front leg and then bring front leg forward to return to starting position. 4) Repeat steps 1-3, and so on and then switch directions to crossover with other leg. (5 crossovers/direction)

Jumping jacks: 1) Start with your feet together and your hands at your side. 2) Jump and bring your feet out to the side as you bring your arms up and clap your hands above your head. 3) Bring your hands back down and your feet together to return to the starting position. 4) Jump and bring your feet out to the side as you clap your hands in front of your chest. 5) Repeat steps 1-4. (10 jumping jacks)

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