Pre-hab your Muscles for Optimum Performance

DDowgBy Craig Thomas, certified trainer

Dynamic warm-ups are an integral part of any type of strength training or fitness regimen.  Priming the body’s muscles to go through the necessary lengthening and contracting required for athletic sports is key to preventing injuries and preparing the body for optimal performance.  I call it pre-habilitation.

In addition to dynamic warm ups, you should utilize proper foam rolling and myfascial release, targeting trigger points and areas of tightness.

Here are a few  smart moves to begin your next workout:

1)   World’s Greatest Stretch: Spiderman Lunge with overhead reach

Begin with a lunge into a wide or “spiderman” stance with your left leg out in front and your left heel securely on the ground. Bring both of your hands to the ground just to right of the left leg.  Keeping the left hand on the ground, bring the right hand overhead, following it with your eyes.  Return both hands to the ground. Now, push your hips/butt back and weight onto your heels in an attempt to lengthen your hamstrings.  Finish by returning the hands to the floor and try to bring the left thigh as far past the toes as possible while maintaining your heels on the ground.

2)   Lateral lunge with curtsey

With the toes of each foot facing forward, step the right foot laterally into a lunge.  While keeping the left leg straight, bend your right knee into a right lateral lunge.  Shifting your body weight onto your right leg while moving your left leg behind your right into a curtsey and onto your balls of your left foot while keeping your right heel down.  Bend both knees while keeping the distribution of your body weight evenly between the two legs and twist your upper body to the right.

3)   Upward/Downward dog with half-pigeon

Start in a high-plank position and shift your hips back so that your butt is as high as it can reach into the air, with your back flat and your arms fully lengthened in front of you on the floor.  Inhale and externally rotate your right thigh so that your iliotibial band (outside of your leg) is flush on the ground with the lateral edge of your foot also on the ground.  Place both hands on the floor and raise your sternum toward the ceiling and engage your back left glute to prevent your back from tightening.  Return to downward dog and repeat on the other side.

4)   Side-lying Windmill

Lie down on your left side with your right leg elevated onto a block or foam roller so that your hip bones (anterior superior iliac spine) are stacked.  Rest your left hand on the ground with your palm facing the ceiling.  With your right arm extended, make circles around your shoulder trying to keep your right hand as close to the ground as possible.  Perform about 4-5 circles on each side and try to keep your hips and legs from moving.

After you’ve completed the above, your joints will be open and your body ready to go!

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