The main focus of your warm-up is to stretch your muscles and get blood pumping. Although many of us have been told that stretching prior to exercising is dangerous, by using dynamic stretches your body will warm up and be prepared for the work that will follow. Personal trainer and exercise physiologist Franci Cohen says, "dynamic stretching has been growing in popularity, as it engages the muscles in a similar way to the workout itself. Because you are moving through the stretching, your heart begins to pump more blood to working muscles, body temperature rises, the muscles warm up and become more elastic, and the body truly does warm up!" Franci has created a 10-minute warm-up that will "prep even the untrained body for the workout to come."
1. Jog to Butt-Kicks
- Begin by jogging in place for 2-3 minutes at a steady pace.
- Alternate the jog every 20 seconds with Hamstring Curls (a.k.a. Butt-Kicks). Make sure the heel of your foot touches your glutes.
- Walk on your toes for 60 seconds to increase ankle motion and strengthen the gastrocnemius.
- Squat with Arm Swing
- Squat down slightly and while rising perform forward arm swing. Repeat for 60 seconds.
3. Arm Circles/Windmills
- Extend arms out to the sides like a "T"
- Perform 20 small circles in each direction, then 20 big circles in each direction. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
4. Straight Leg Front Kicks
- Focus on kicking with the ball of the foot, and as your hamstrings warm up, begin increasing your range of motion by kicking higher and stronger.
- Make sure to extend the leg as fully as you can without locking during each kick. Perform 25 kicks on each leg (50 total).
5. Side Shuffle
- Give yourself about 10 feet of space.
- Shuffle to the right for 3 counts, then touch the floor, repeat to the left. Repeat the right/left shuffle 16 times
- Can also be done on a treadmill but switching shuffle direction every 10 seconds.
"These moves, especially the Front Kicks, will warm up your hamstrings and increase hip flexion, IT band elasticity, and core stability," says Franci. You will not be over stretched and your performance will increase. You can track your progress by the difference in time it takes you to run a mile. Results are almost guaranteed!
A No Nonsense Approach to Fitness, Health & Your Life
Franci Cohen is a personal trainer, certified nutritionist, exercise physiologist and creator of SPIDERBANDS®, a total-body cardio resistance workout that leverages gravity and your bodyweight with other intense exercise modules such as rebounding, kickboxing and indoor cycling. With over 18 years of experience, Franci has been a mainstay in the fitness and nutrition industries. Franci believes in a tough love approach to fitness and health. "We all have our fitness wake-up call at some point in our lives and it can be a powerful catalyst for change," says Franci. "Unfortunately, many people overcompensate and try to change everything at once, which is a disaster. Making lasting change involves going through stages that aren't necessarily linear. People fluctuate and transition between the stages. Knowing how to move through them can get you where you want to be."
Franci devotes much of her time to Fuel Fitness, a specialty fitness center in Brooklyn, NY and continues to teach group fitness classes, train clients and broaden her perspective in all areas of fitness, nutrition and wellness. She designs unique fitness modules and group exercise programs for her clients utilizing the most effective and popular products, tools and exercise equipment available. "Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health, but sometimes it's hard to just get motivated. My goal is to keep it fun and interesting by creating out-of-the-box programs that wow my clients with both the innovative nature of the classes, as well as with the rapid results they see in their bodies! My classes are the ultimate playground where fitness meets fun, and nothing is off limits!"