It’s tempting to jump right into your workout—hey, you’re busy and need to get it done. But building in time for a warm-up is actually super important. It loosens you up so you’re less prone to injury and your body will be able to work harder when it comes to the main event.
Here’s the thing: You need to do more than a few jumping jacks or a quick jog. People tend to think a warm-up just means getting the body sweaty, as opposed to doing moves that get the body primed, turned on, and ready to perform, explains Leyon Azubuike, celebrity trainer (he’s trained Jennifer Aniston) and owner of the bicoastal boutique boxing studio Gloveworx. “Before you get into the hard work, your muscles need to be firing and everything needs to be activated.” Not sure where to start, or what the best warm-up exercises even are? Azubuike created this total-body warm-up that will prepare you for whatever workout you have on tap.
Half-kneeling ankle rocks
Kneel down on your right knee with your left foot on the floor and your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle; left ankle should be directly under your left knee. Rest backs of hands on lower back (A). With core engaged, drive left knee forward, bringing it over the left toe (B). Pause, and then return to start. Do 10 reps per side.
Start on all fours with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. Lift your head and tailbone as you drop your belly (A); hold for a couple of seconds. Tuck your tailbone, curl your back up, and round your head into your chest (B). This is one rep. Do 15.
Start on all fours with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips (A). Simultaneously, reach your right hand forward as you extend your left leg back (B). Return to “A”; repeat with your left hand and right leg. Do 8 reps per side.
Get into a straight-arm plank with feet hip-width apart and wrists underneath shoulders (A); hold for 45 seconds. Lower left elbow to the ground (B), followed by right, coming into a forearm plank (C); hold for 30 seconds.
Slingshot + T-spine rotation
Start in a straight-arm plank with hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend knees and shift hips back so knees hover about two inches off floor (A). Step the left foot forward, placing it directly next to the left hand (B). Lift right hand up as you rotate torso to the right (C). Lower back to “B,” step left foot back to plank, then repeat move on the opposite side. Do 6 reps per side.
Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Hinge forward at your hips, and place your palms on the ground. Walk your hands forward (A) to come into a straight-arm plank (B); hold for one second. Walk hands back in toward feet, rise to standing, and repeat. This is one rep; do 6.
Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on floor, and palms slightly behind your hips. Lift your butt a couple inches off the ground (A). Simultaneously raise your hips and lift your left arm up and over your right shoulder, stretching it behind you so that your body forms a straight line from your fingers to your right knee (B). Reverse motion to return to start, and repeat on the opposite side. Do 8 reps per side.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, feet parallel, toes slightly turned out, and hands out in front of you. Lower into a quarter squat, lift your heels, and come onto the balls of your feet. Then run as fast as you can in place for 15 seconds. Do 3 rounds.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter