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Warm it up!

Limbering up is one thing; knowing just how to do it is another. Here’s a look at the dynamic stretches and jogging drills that will help you prep up for your workout.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2009 17:12 IST
Heath Matthews

Warm up before you exercise! Heard the words often enough? We’re sure you have, but unless you’ve played a sport or been to a gym with qualified instructors, you probably still don’t know exactly which exercises you should be doing to warm up your body and get it going.

Well, worry no more. Here is a precise list of dynamic stretches that you can do to prepare your body before your long run/workout. Look to the left for the exact sequence of exercises that you need to follow. Try to do them in order, mobilising the joints one by one from the ankles up.

Do the drill
Warmed up and ready to go? Hang on a moment before you take off. Jog in place for five minutes and gradually build your speed as your body starts to warm up and muscles and joints begin moving better.

Once you’re warm do some drill jogging. Here are some basics to start with:
High knees — As you walk, lift your knee as high as you can, keeping your back straight. Rise up on the toes of the support leg and use the arms to drive forward. This helps build balance, calf strength and core strength.
Bottom kicks — Place your hands on your bottom, walk at a brisk pace, and try to swing each heel backwards to touch your hands. This is good for improving leg speed and hamstring strength.
Walk backwards — Simple enough, just make sure you have a clear path. Accentuate the hip extensions. This is good for strengthening the hips.
Carioca — Jog sideways while you cross one leg over the other, first in front and then behind. Pick up speed and knee height as you get better.

Truly limber
After finishing this routine, your body will be completely prepared to get the most out of your session. With practice, you’ll find that you can get the entire sequence done in 15 minutes, which is the perfect duration for a warm up.

Ankle exercise
Do large-amplitude movements of one ankle while balancing in the air on the other foot. Repeat anticlockwise. Then repeat for the other ankle.

Hip circles
Place yours hands on your hips and move clockwise. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, your head straight and gradually increase amplitude of circles. Repeat anticlockwise

Shoulder twists
Get into a squat. Put your hands on your knees, and twist your torso to move one shoulder forward. Repeat on other side.

Shoulder circles
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold your hands behind your back, lean forward at the waist and then rotate your shoulders on your waist. Keep your waist as still as possible.

Horizontal flexion extension
Stand with arms in front of you, bent at the elbows at 90° and touching from elbow to hands. Move them as far apart as you can, keeping elbows bent; then return to start.

Internal external rotation
Stretch your arms out, bent at the elbows at a 90° angle. Rotate your arms up as much as you can, maintaining the angle, and then do the same downwards.

Neck circles
Rotate your head clockwise from the neck gently, keeping your torso straight. Gradually increase the amplitude of the rotations. Then repeat in an anticlockwise direction.

High kicks
Start in an athletic stance, like you’re about to take off on a sprint, and kick your right leg forward as high as you can. You should rise to your toes on the left foot while keeping your back straight. Repeat with left leg.

Lumbar rotations
Lie down. Keeping your shoulders flat on the ground, place your right foot on your left inner knee. Rotate your right knee over to the floor on the opposite side. Repeat 30 times. Repeat with left leg.

Hip rotations
Sit with your hands behind you for support, knees bent at 90°, and feet placed flat. Move your right knee in, and your left knee out. When they touch the ground, bring them up and over to the other side.