I get it, we are in such a hurry to squeeze in a workout we often underestimate the importance of a good warmup as well as an adequate cool down. In terms of a warmup, most often folks come to a class tight & cold regardless of the time of day either having just woke up or been sitting at a desk for several hours. Creating high demand on cold muscles is a recipe for serious injury. As far as skipping the cool down, you create an environment for at the very least lactic acid buildup that will bring unnecessary muscle soreness post workout.
A good dynamic warmup works all areas of the body that will be challenged in the workout. A nice way to start is warming up the core with some type of plank exercise that will fire all the ab muscles, glutes, and back. Transition to building heat in the body by incorporating multi planar movement that engages the muscles groups in the ankles, knees, & hips. Moving next to some dynamic stretches that offer length to the body such as down dog. Then finishing off with some closed chain isolated exercises like full body swings reaching from the sky on down to forward fold. This type of warmup will warm & prepare the body from the inside out.
So now that you’ve adequately warmed up & given yourself a great workout don’t let leave without a cool down to match. Skipping the cool down can have consequences from small to big, so the trick is keeping yourself engaged so you don’t leave before the cool down is over. I see folks do it all the time in group exercise classes. The natural tendency is to throw in some abs and finish with static stretching. In lieu of this pattern try throwing in a little yoga flow to finish off. Stay on your feet so you feel like you’re still working out. This will activate the core to give those abs a little challenge as well as stretch the muscles you have just worked.
Here’s a great sample warmup, as well as a nice cool down…
start in forearm plank tap knees to floor gently 30secs
step back lunges 10reps right, 10reps left, 10reps alternating
Move from a down dog 3 breaths to full body swings 3 reps, repeat 3x
high to low boat 30 secs
knees to chest rock & roll to stand
forward fold, step right foot back to lunge
straighten front leg pyramid pose
return to lunge, sweep left leg to 3 legged dog
bring left leg down into pigeon pose
plank to childs pose
tuck toes, float hips to down dog, step to fold
repeat to the other side
This warm up and cool down can be used for almost any class. Both the warm up and cool down can be down on land or on our GlideFit or TerraFit if you want an even bigger challenge for your balance and stabilizers. If you’re looking for a class look no further….