By Jason Greenspan

For most fitness enthusiasts the days of performing a couple of stretches or riding a bike to warm–up before exercise might be on the verge of becoming obsolete.

As fitness enthusiasts living in a busy world where we’re all pressed for time, we want to warm-up with a purpose that allows us to improve many different aspects of fitness in the shortest amount of time. We want to break up knots, stretch and activate muscles and wake up the nervous system before we workout or play a specific sport, not turn them off as static stretching does, or warm-up without much of a purpose like walking, running on the treadmill or riding the bike. Also, for many people, walking on the treadmill or riding the bike is boring. The 21st century version of the warm-up will give you energy and enthusiasm that just might make you adhere to the warm-up part of your workout. This is what we teach at Silver Stars Fitness, a fitness studio dedicated to helping Baby Boomers and beyond get stronger and healthier.

greenspanNow that being said, for those people who have a hard time with balance, lack core strength or feel uncomfortable going down to the floor, the old school way of warming–up might be more appropriate, until supervised by an experienced fitness trainer who can modify this updated version of the warm up.

For example, instead of getting down to the floor to use the foam roller, invest in a massage stick. The massage stick offers you similar benefits to the foam roller without having to go down to the floor. Massage sticks can be purchased at any sporting goods store. There are also some dynamic warm-up moves that might not require as much balance, such as the bridge, squat-to-stand or lateral shifts.

The updated version of our warm-up will incorporate foam rolling, static stretching and our dynamic warm-up. Our recovery (after the workout) will be foam rolling and then static stretching.

This might sound like a lot of time (10-15 minutes) invested before the actual workout, but you’ll feel energized and ready to go and at the same time improve many aspects of fitness. What parts of the body should you roll/ stretch and what are some dynamic exercises that are most important to the fitness enthusiast? Typical tight areas of the body are your calves, mid/low back, groin, hip flexor, outside of the hip or (iliotibical band), and hamstring.

Here are some tips on the various techniques:

The rationale for foam rolling: Foam rolling acts as a self-massage. It helps to remove knots and helps to break up muscles that are in a contracted state, which helps you stretch more efficiently and move better. It also helps to increase circulation, elevate your body temperature and in some positions give you a great core workout.

• Foam rolling exercises
1. Calves
2. Mid back or thoracic spine
3. Groin/adductors
4. Hip flexor/quads
5. Outside of the hip
6. Hamstring
7. Foot- use tennis ball

Static Stretching before you work out (only for those who have muscle imbalances, which most of us do): The next step is to stretch out ONLY the muscles that are the tightest and you have foam rolled. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 2/3 times. Muscles will stretch out more efficiently AFTER you’ve used the foam roller.

Dynamic Warm-Up/Movement Prep: This warm-up is the most bang for the dollar! Unlike static stretching, the DYNAMIC WARM –UP prepares the body for movement. It also increases heat rate, core temperature, blood flow to the muscles, improves the function of the nervous system, stretches/activates key muscles, and improves balance and coordination. Some studies also suggest an increase of speed and power output by 20 percent in comparison to static stretching alone.

1. Lunge with rotation
2. Walking knee hug
3. Walking knee to elbow
4. Squat to stand
5. Lateral shift for the groin (Hop or not!)
6. Walking quad
7. Frankensteins.
8. Wall slides

•  Walking Lunge with Rotation- Step forward in to a lunge position by bending both knees. Rotate your trunk to the foot that is in front. Continue walking and alternating trunk to lead leg.

• Walking Knee Hug-  Stand tall and raise one knee towards your chest. Continure to walk and repeat on other side.

• Walking Knee to Elbow- Put hands by ears, stand tall and raise knee to elbow. Continue walking and raise to other side.

• Squat to stand-  Stand tall and spread feet out a bit wider than your shoulders. Bend over with legs straight and try and grad your toes.  Sit back bend knee and lift your chest up high. Raise arms above head and repeat.

• Lateral Shifts- Step out with either leg, keeping your toes pointed straight ahead and feet flat. Squat by sitting back and down as you keep the opposite leg straight. Hold position and squat and shift weight o other side.

• Walking quad- Stand tall, take a step forward and bring you heel up towards the buttock. Hold for a second and  reach for the other leg.

• Frankensteins- Stand tall with both arms extended in front of you.  Take a step forward, Keeping leg straight, raise leg to opposite arm.

• Wall Slides- Stand with back facing a wall.. Keep back, head, buttock and forearms/wrists in contact with wall. Raise arms to so you form a right angle between elbow and shoulder (goal post ) Keep shoulders back and down and slide arms up towards wall. Slide hands down to the goal post position.

******************* If time is limited, perform a dynamic warm-up in the beginning and only static stretching at the end of your work-out session.

For more information on this new way of warming up, or to inquire about Silver Stars Fitness programs, contact Silver Stars to set up a free consultation.

Silver Stars Fitness
850 7th Avenue, Suite 305
New York, NY 10019

NEWS | 1 comment | permalink
    1. barbara g. says:

      Great article. Very practical and useful. I have been working with Jason for over two years and it has been an unbelievable help.