By now the media has made us well aware of the fact that people, in general, sit way too long throughout the course of the day.  The effects of large amounts of time spent sitting in front of a computer, television, or desk can be detrimental to our overall health.

Did you know that sitting can also cause muscular imbalances that result in tight, overstretched, and/or weak muscles?

Even worse, a poorly aligned body can inhibit certain muscles from functioning correctly, essentially “shutting off” muscles needed to achieve maximum performance!

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The importance of stretching before your workout

By jumping right into your workout without taking a few moments to stretch you may be setting yourself up for injury and inhibiting your body’s ability to achieve maximum results.

Instead, take a few moments to realign, refresh, and reawaken your muscles and joints.

The following pre workout plan was designed to stretch areas that are typically tight and strengthen and “awaken” muscles that are typically weak and overstretched. The routine can be performed as many times as needed until your body feels ready to dominate your workout!

Also see this Pre workout for running

Pre workout stretches program

– Chest opener

pre workout stretches_2Lie with a foam roller placed vertically along your spine.  Make sure both feet are flat on the floor and your head is supported. Take a deep breath, allowing your shoulders to relax. With palms facing upward, reach your arms out to each side and pretend you are being pulled at both hands.

Be sure not to dramatically arch your low back or hold your breath.  Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds or until a deep stretch is felt across the chest.  Feel free to play around with multiple arm angles in order to maximize the chest opening benefits!

– Scapular retraction

pre workout stretches_3Lie in the same vertical position along a foam roller.  With relaxed shoulders, reach fingertips up towards the sky with palms facing each other.  Arms should be shoulder-width apart and belly button held into the spine to ensure an engaged core throughout the exercise.

Take a deep breath and exhale, drawing your shoulder blades around the foam roller as if the shoulder blades were trying to hug the roller. Active engagement should be felt in the upper back. Perform slow and controlled repetitions until at least a set of ten is achieved.

– Hip flexor stretch w/ Posterior pelvic tilt

pre workout stretches_4Start in a lunge position with left foot forward and right knee placed on the floor.  Working to keep an upright posture, slightly tilt the pelvis backwards in order to engage the right glute muscles.

A stretch should be felt throughout the right hip flexor muscles.  In order to deepen the stretch, hands can be reached up to the sky with palms facing forward.  Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds until switching to the other side.

– Sumo squat

pre workout stretches_5Place feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointed out to a 45 degree angle.  Sit down and back as if you were sitting into a chair, making sure to keep your knees behind your toes.

Exhale as you come back to standing, working to squeeze the glutes and inner thigh muscles.  Make sure your abdominals are held in tight and work to keep an upright posture throughout the exercise.

Perform 10-15 repetitions.

– Bird dogs

pre workout stretches_6Start on the floor in an all-fours position.  Hands should be placed below the shoulders and knees placed below the hips. Keeping a flat back, reach your left arm out straight with palm pointed down while at the same time reaching your right leg out straight.

Imagine bringing your belly button into your spine as you aim to keep a straight line from your fingertips to your toes. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Repeat the exercise with left arm and right leg out straight. Alternate sides for a total of 16 repetitions.

– Plank w/ Hip opener

pre workout stretches_7Start in plank position with arms out straight and hands placed below the shoulders. Head, back, glutes, and legs should form a straight line.  Keeping your core in tight, exhale and bring your right leg out to the side.

The goal is to bring your knee up towards the elbow and keep the inner thigh parallel to the floor. Inhale as you return to plank position. Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.  Alternate left and right sides until a total of 8 repetitions are achieved with each leg.

pre workout stretches_8

Ready, set…..Go!

Of course, there are a number of pre workout stretches that can be done in order to realign your body. The above plan is a suggested routine designed to help correct typical postural distortions that results from prolonged sitting.

Be careful!

If you feel you have an underlying injury or severe musculoskeletal imbalances a certified exercise physiologist or licensed physical therapist can design an individualized program specific to your body’s needs.

Hopefully our pre workout stretching plan is a great start to having you feeling realigned, refreshed, and ready to maximize your workout!

Why not combine this pre workout with a full diet and workout plan, designed to keep your body balanced.

 

Connect with Expert Louise Valentine.

Photo credit: Ana Marie Photography

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