Dynamic warm ups to avoid injury: 5 simple moves
This is part one of our collaboration with Deep Heat, Deep Freeze and Deep Relief about how you can practice Self Care-ology and avoid exercise-related injuries.
The best way to avoid exercise-related injuries is to warm up your body before you start, says personal trainer and physio Sammy Margo.
The idea is that you want to wake up your body and prime it for the exercise ahead, which makes total sense, and yet a whopping 41% of people polled by Deep Heat launch straight into exercise without preparing their body, meaning no warm up, no stretching, nothing.
We need to fire up the muscles in our body. Often our muscles might feel stiff or tight, and we want to wake them up and have them feeling looser. We also want to ensure our body is nice and limber before we exercise to further avoid injury, even if it is just a leisurely walk.
The best way to warm up before exercise? Dynamic warm ups
If you think of warming up before exercise, chances are that you think about stretches – stuff like putting your arm behind your back and stretching out your leg behind you.
While these moves do have a place, they’re static, still stretches and it’s even better to opt for dynamic stretches, which are active movements.
You may also want to spend a few minutes doing a lighter intensity version of the exercise you’re about to do, such as doing a slow, gentle jog before going on a more demanding run.
5 simple dynamic warm ups to do before you start exercising
Standing straight, hold a wall for support. Swing your left leg back and forth gently. Repeat for 10 swings, then swap legs.
You should find that each swing allows your leg to go a little higher, increasing the range of movement at the joint.
Standing tall, gaze forward with your back straight. Take your left leg forward and bend the knee. Drop your right knee to the ground as you do so.
Then rotate your torso to the right and turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Hold for 2-3 seconds, then release and come back up to standing. Aim for 4-5 rotations on each side.
Stand tall and bend at the hips, keeping your legs straight. Drop your arms down to the floor and walk with your hands forward until your body is in a plank position; hands under your shoulders and body in a straight horizontal position. Then slowly walk your hands back towards your feet, eventually coming back up to standing.
These are great for engaging your lower and upper body.
Keeping your arms straight, raise them forward and rotate them all the way behind you in a big circular movement. Repeat 5 arm circles forward, then 5 arm circles back.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift your hips up from the ground, keeping your upper back firmly down on the floor.
Once your hips are lifted, hold the position for 5 seconds, squeezing your glutes, then slowly lower yourself back down. Aim to repeat this 10 times.
Waking up your glute (bottom) muscles is important as they’re generally incredibly inactive from long periods spent sitting down. If your glutes aren’t woken up prior to exercise, other muscles in your legs may end up working harder to make up for sleepy bum muscles, and this can lead to injury.
Other warm up ideas
Skipping No rope? No problem! Simply act out the movements with an invisible rope. Aim to do this for 1 minute, whether your rope is real or imaginary.
Bodyweight squats With your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees and drop down slowly, keeping your back upright and gaze forward. Keep your heels glued to the floor. Then, pushing through your heels, rise back up to standing. Aim for 10-15 repetitions.
Jumping Jacks (also known as star jumps) will wake up your entire body, and raise your heart rate too.
Jump both feet out simultaneously while lifting your arms out to either side of your body and touching your hands up above your head. Then drop your arms back down to your side as you jump your feet back together. Aim for 20 repetitions.