Let’s face it, it is extremely difficult to get in your “workout mode” if you don’t know how to loosen up your muscles and get the blood flowing. A proper warm-up routine is the key to a great and invigorating workout session. Whether you have joined a gym or a cycling group in your neighbourhood, without a proper warm-up, no exercise delivers results. Let’s get started with a few useful tips and some very common and easy warm-up exercises before running or cycling:
Jumps And More Jumps
Get up in the morning, stand in front of the mirror with your legs shoulder-width apart. Touch your toes with your hands without bending your knees. Twist a little left and right and now you can begin jumping on the spot. Yes, put your hands on your waist and start jumping. Do at least 20 jumps for the first set and you will notice your body warming up gradually as the blood starts flowing. Pause for a minute and repeat the set now with 40 jumps. Keep on increasing the number of jumps by 20 till you reach 100. This is enough warm up before you ride.
Lunges are perfect for regular runners and cyclists. The focus is on your quads and hamstrings, along with your glutes and calves. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bring your right foot forward and go down to touch the ground with the left foot. Keep your back straight and your right thigh horizontal to the ground. Come back to the initial position and repeat the same with the left leg. Start with 5 reps each and take a 30-second break before you begin the second set. Increase the number of lunges as you move forward.
Squats target specifically your hamstrings and glutes and it is a great warmup exercise before running or cycling. These are perfect if you want a quick warm-up and you can also add a little variety by doing alternate sets of lunges with squats. Stand with your feet apart, preferably a little wider than your shoulder width. Now go down in a sitting position without bending your knees. Keep your back straight and your arms pointing forward, horizontal to the ground. You may also fold your arms, hand over the elbow keeping them parallel to the floor. As you come up, release your hands, squeeze your glutes and contract your hamstrings. Do at least 10 reps of squats for the first set. You may increase the number of repetitions from 10 to 20 and then to 30 and so on as you progress.
Jump N Squat
This is very much similar to your regular squats except that when you come up, you do that in an instant motion as if trying to touch the roof. Stand in the same position as explained above and go down keeping your thighs horizontal to the ground. Come up in a swift motion almost like a jump and without holding go back in the squatting position as your feet touch the ground again. This is a very intense workout and you should always make sure that your back is straight and upright. Do not hunch your back as it may lead to a sprain in your lower back muscles.
High jumps are a more advanced level of warm-up and can be done if you have performed a few warmup exercises already such as at least 3 sets of normal jumps or 2 sets of squats. High jumps are ideal for you if you have a lot of stiffness in your body and it takes you a while to warm up before every cycling or running session. You can begin by performing normal jumps as explained in the first point and then raise your knees higher little by little with every jump. Make sure to keep your back straight and your hands in front of your face in a horizontal position. You may also fold your hands to lock your position and maintain the posture of your back.
Brisk walking is probably the easiest way to warm up your body. If you find any of the techniques or warm-up exercises mentioned above too taxing for your body, just wear your sports shoes and go out for a brisk walk. Do not get distracted. You will have to switch between small steps and long strides and also try to stretch your legs as much as you can after your walk is done.
Split And Stretch
Talking about splitting and stretching, this is also a great way to warm up your muscles. If you complain about stiffness in your hamstrings and glutes, stretches could be a great way to get rid of it. Stand in an upright position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Gradually move your feet away from each other and try to stretch your legs as much as you can. Stop when you find it impossible to stretch any further. You may also sit on your yoga mat with your legs stretched in front of you. Raise your hands, bring them forward, and try to touch your feet without bending your knees. It is one of the easiest and best stretches before cycling.
These were a few exercises that you can try to get your body warmed up for your exercise session every morning. You can mix and match a few or properly stick to one that suits you the best. The one thing that you must never forget is to invest in a pair of sports shoes. Go preferably with something that comes with soft memory foam and enough padding. The sole should be robust and flexible. The rest, you’re good to go.