Stretching Exercises Pre-Workout can be critically important. Exercising without stretching can be incredibly counter-productive.
Suppose you don’t properly stretch before a workout could end up hurting yourself and become incapacitated for several weeks, undoing all your hard work. The only way to avoid pulling any muscles and injuring yourself is by stretching and warming up before any intense workout.
Is it Better to Stretch or Warm Up Before a Workout?
After deciding that you want to prepare your muscles before exercising, you ask yourself how exactly can you do that? Do you stretch, or do you warm-up?
Warm-ups prepare your body for exercise by increasing your muscles’ heart rate and blood flow. By raising your heart rate gradually, you can avoid putting too much stress on it and keep it healthy.
Stretches can be static or dynamic. Static stretches are ones where you hold a position for 10 to 30 seconds like the child’s pose. On the other hand, dynamic stretches take you through a full range of motion.
Either way, they increase flexibility which is super important as you age.
We recommend starting with a quick warm-up and then moving on to a blend of static and dynamic stretches before your workout.
How to Stretch Pre-Workout
If you’re wondering how to stretch before working out properly, don’t worry because we have the perfect routine for you. These three stretches target all the important muscles in your body and prepare you for any exercise.
Try a few of these stretching exercises pre-workout.
Start your pre-workout stretch with the child’s pose. Get into a kneeling position with your knees hip-width apart and feet joined behind you. Extend your arms in front of you and lengthen your spine and neck. Take a deep breath in and lower your torso as you breathe out.
You can make the child’s pose a dynamic stretch by easing into and out of the stretch. Place your forehead on the mat and hold this pose for 30 seconds. Continue taking big deep breaths.
The Child’s Pose is an excellent stretch for your lower back. Check out our in-depth article with helpful information about stretching out your lower back before and after exercises.
How to do Cat Cow Stretch
The next stretch is the cat-cow. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop pose. Make sure your hands are below your shoulders, and your knees are directly below your hips.
As you breathe in, arch your back, lift your head and chest. Look up at the ceiling. This position is referred to as the cow pose in yoga.
On the next exhale, round your spine and drop your head towards the floor. Lift your belly button towards the ceiling. This position is referred to as a Cat Pose.
Move into the cow pose on your next inhale and then cat on your exhale. Continue this motion for three to five cycles.
Start in an all-fours position like you did for the cat-cow stretch. Keep your right knee bent and your right foot flexed. Then kick your left leg up while keeping it bent. Pause at the top. Then bring your left knee back onto the floor.
Repeat this motion five times on each leg. If your back hurts while doing this stretch, adjust your spine. Avoid arching it and keep your spine neutral.
Best Pre-Workout Stretching Exercises
The three stretches we highlighted above are the perfect baseline. Depending on what part of the body you’re exercising, you should add more stretches to have a more targeted routine.
Stretching Exercises Before a Workout Targeting Arms
We tend to think much more about stretching our legs, hamstrings, and glutes. However, how often do we perform stretching exercises pre-workout for our upper body, especially our arms? There have been numerous times when I have pulled something in my shoulder or my arm after doing several repetitions of push-ups.
Standing Bicep Stretch
Move your arms behind you and interlace your hands at the base of your spine, straighten your arms and turn your palms to face downwards. Then raise your arms as high as you can. Pause at the top for 5 seconds and come back down. Repeat three times.
I like to do this Standing Bicep stretch before doing arm workouts like pull-ups or push-ups.
Horizontal Arm Extensions
Extend your arms to the side of your body, so they are parallel to the floor. Turn your thumbs downwards, so your palms face backward. Pulse your hands back and forth for thirty seconds. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting, so choose whichever is more comfortable.
Stretching Exercises Before a Workout Targeting Abs
How to Cobra Pose
Lie face down on your exercise mat. Place your hands next to your shoulders and push your chest upwards. Look straight ahead. Hold the stretch for 15 to 25 seconds and come back down. Repeat the entire motion twice or three times.
Even though you initially find the Cobra Pose in Yoga, it can be a great stretch even if you’re not into yoga. I do not do yoga, but specific stretches like this Cobra Pose Workout is worth using before an ab workout.
Chest Opener on an Exercise Ball
Lie on your back on an exercise ball. Your head, neck, and shoulder blades should be on top of the ball. Keep your feet flat on the floor and knees at a right angle. Open up your arms and let them fall to the side of the ball. Remember to look upwards and keep your face straight. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat the entire motion twice or thrice.
Stretching Exercises Before Working Out for Legs And Butt
Try stretching your legs and butt with the following exercises before working out. I find stretching your legs and butt before working out will help with the initial pain after a workout.
Leg Swings Workout
The Leg Swings Workout is an easy stretch to get you loosened up and ready to work out. Leg Swings workout is a great beginner stretch and workout for leg day.
Grab a door handle or wall and stand tall. Swing your right leg back and forth, aiming to kick a little higher every time you bring it up. Continue this back and forth motion 10 to 15 times on each leg.
What Muscles do Side Leg Swings Work?
A Leg Swing workout will target your glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, outer thighs, and groin muscles. Quadruped leg swings are another variation that is very popular and will take your stretch to the next level. Check out an example here.
How to do Glute Bridge Exercise
Lie down on your back and bend your knees; keep your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms next to your body. Press into your heel and lift your butt until your body forms one straight line from chin to knee.
Lower your body to the starting position and repeat 10 to 15 times.
What muscles do the Glute Bridge work?
The Glute Bridge Exercise will engage your glute muscles and also targets several other parts of your body. This workout will strengthen and stretch your core, lower back, and hips. It will build and strengthen your butt and is a safe stretch you can do every day.
Stretching Exercises Pre-Workout – Wrap Up
The stretches and exercises we’ve highlighted in this article are our favorites and can prepare you for any workout. Whether you’re planning on having an arm day or a leg day, you can use the three basic stretches and two supplementary stretches to formulate the ideal routine for yourself.
While you might think stretching and warming up is redundant, it is an essential part of working out. You can not skip this step under any circumstance, or you’ll hurt yourself by damaging your muscles.
When men work out, we skip the stretching and jump straight to the workout. That can be very damaging and, in time, hurt our muscles in the long run.
I find that proper stretching is strengthening and stretching my muscles in a way like working out. To help make your workouts more effective, try stretching well before your workouts at home or the gym.
What are your favorite stretching exercises pre-workout? Good luck, be safe, and happy exercising.