Resistance Band Stretches

The Benefits of Warming Up and Stretching

Preventing injury, increasing range of motion, increasing blood flow to muscles, bringing awareness to the working muscle, and preparing mentally. All reasons we should be warming up before and stretching after our workouts.

 

But why do we all skip out on it? If it has such great benefits to our overall health, progress, and performance, why do we disregard stretching and warming up?

  • We don't give ourselves the time. Probably the easiest excuse is that we rush right into our workouts because we want to get in and out of the gym as fast as possible. So we don’t give ourselves time to warm up before our workouts and stretch afterwards.
  • We don't think it's necessary. “As long as I get my lifting in and cardio done, that’s the most important thing to my training.” “I’m doing just fine without warming up, why start now?”
  • We don't work it into our routine. It’s easy to plan out the sets and reps we’re going to do for that day or week, but we don’t plan out the appropriate warm-ups and stretching to accommodate those gym sessions. And let’s face it, if we don’t have it written down in our plan, it isn’t going to happen!

 

Okay okay, so they say warming up is important and that it’s supposed to prevent injury. Cool, but I haven’t had any problems yet. Or have you?

 

There are many reasons you should be properly warming up. Yes, not only to prevent injury but to better your performance during your workouts.

  1. Increases Blood Flow to Muscles. The term “warming up” isn’t used randomly, your body temperature is actually rising, opening your blood vessels, and making it easier for your blood to flow throughout your body and muscles. When you hear the term “getting a pump”, this is what’s happening. Your muscles are filling up with blood and the oxygen your blood carries, which is necessary to properly perform your exercise.
  2. Improves Range of Motion. Now that your muscles are warmed up, your blood / oxygen is properly cycling through your body, your range of motion is going to be much greater than if you didn’t warm up. If you jumped right into lifting weights, you’ll notice you feel very stiff, that your muscles don’t want to extend and contract easily, and that the weight feels very heavy (even if it’s half your maximum weight). If you aren’t going through the full range of motion in an exercise, you’re not getting the full benefit. This is where the term “half reps” comes in. Going through the FULL range of motion is part of proper form, so don’t cheat yourself! Warming up properly, will help you attain this full ROM.
  3. Prevents Injury. If you decide to push through the stiffness we just talked about with ROM, you’re putting yourself at risk for muscle pulls and tears. Your muscles need time to adjust to intense movements and heavy weight. Your joints will also thank you for giving your tendons time to warm up as well; this will help your joints stay strong and healthy as you increase the intensity of your workouts.
  4. Body Awareness of the Working Muscle(s). We often hear the term “mind-muscle connection” and may overlook this as a simply way for our trainers to help us stay focused. It’s important while performing an exercise to focus on contracting the muscle to make sure you’re isolating that muscle and not compensating by using other muscles to get through the movement. You can start to bring this awareness to the forefront while warming up. For example, if you’re going to work on your upper body today, you want to warm up your biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, and back. Not only are you warming up for the physiological reasons we talked about above, but also to hone in on that mind-muscle connection to bring awareness to the muscles you’ll be performing with today. That alone will help you prepare for your workout - whether it’s lifting heavy, high volume, or even cardio, your muscles will be better prepared.
  5. Mental Preparation. Being mentally “in the zone” is vital to how successful our training is going to be on any given day. Giving yourself time to warm up, get pumped up, and focused will improve your workout way more than if you were to just jump in and start pumping out reps or start sprinting on the treadmill.

 

Great - you have me convinced, but what’s the best way to warm-up?

 

Warming Up:

When warming up before a workout you want to avoid static stretching (i.e., when you reach for your toes and hold for 30 seconds). That alone might cause injury right off the bat. You want to do what’s called “dynamic stretching” and other movements to get the blood flowing. Dynamic stretching means “stretches in motion”, so things like high kicks, rolling of your neck/shoulders, rolling your ankle, trunk rotations, etc.

Calf Stretch

I personally always hop on the treadmill first thing and walk for 5-10 minutes to mentally prepare and to start increasing the blood flow. Then I move to my dynamic stretches. I’ll focus on movements that will get me warmed up for what I’m working on in particular that day - whether that’s legs, upper body, full-body, or cardio. I recommend adding a resistance band to your warm up. You can do just body weight, but since I add heavier weights in my exercises, I like to introduce light resistance to my muscles to better prepare for heavy lifts.

 

Watch this video for various ways to warm up with a resistance band.

 

 

All these movements will activate your muscles and improve mobility and strength. Try these out and I guarantee you’ll feel much more prepared for your workouts!

 

Stretching:

Lastly, take time after your workouts to stretch it out. It’s just as important as taking time to warm up before your workouts! Now that your muscles are well warmed up and loose, it’s the best time to do your static stretching. You just worked your muscles hard and we all know the feeling of “DOMS” (Delayed onset of muscles soreness) There’s a lot of lactic acid that builds up in your muscles from working them, so taking the time to stretch will help loosen that and prevent muscle stiffness. In addition, the better flexibility your muscles have, the better they can perform. Staying loose and flexible will help you progress towards your goals.

 

Here are some stretches you can add to the end of your workout! Resistance bands are always an option to add as a helping hand during your stretches, especially if you don’t have the flexibility to reach your toes or arms behind your back. Adding a band will help you get deeper into the stretches.

 

Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring Stretch

 

Quad Stretch

Quad Stretch

 

Calf Stretch

Calf Stretch

 

Side Stretch

Side Stretch

 

Chest Stretch

Chest Stretch

 

Shoulders & Biceps Stretch

Shoulder_Bicep Stretch

 

Triceps Stretch

Triceps Stretch

 

There are many ways to warm up and stretch, so share your favorite ways on IG! Tag us @dyna_pro we’d love to see your creative ways!

 

Warm Up

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DynaPro Ab Sliders Circuit

Core Sliders Ab Workout

Although they're pretty simple and non-threatening, core sliders can really increase the burn in your workouts. Core sliders are those disc shaped contraptions at the gym that are designed to minimize friction, allowing you to slide on the floor. They’re a great option to use to open yourself up to some new exercises to try (and more fun to be honest here)!

 

While you probably see these being used for core exercises, you can also challenge yourself by adding sliders to exercises like reverse lunges, side lunges, hamstring curls, etc. By adding the sliders to these types of exercises you’ll be engaging, and therefore strengthening, your core because you’ll need to use stabilizer muscles to perform them.

  

We often get caught up in aesthetic progress with our workouts, but it’s important to work on those stabilizer muscles to help improve our overall performance in the gym. Having a strong core will help with proper form in all exercises and help prevent injury.

If you’d like to take these core sliders for a ride, I threw together a fun ab circuit for you to try! Ready to feel the burn? Give this workout a go at home, in the gym, or on the go! You can grab your DynaPro core sliders HERE :)

Ab Circuit:

  1. Reverse pikes - 10 reps
  2. Knee tucks - 10 reps
  3. Arm slides - 10 total (5 reps each arm)
  4. Mountain climbers - 30 secs
  5. Alternating knee to elbow planks - 10 total (5 reps each side)

*Rest for 60s and repeat! Repeat whole circuit 3x - no breaks between exercises!

 

Reverse Pikes

Knee Tucks

Arm Slides

Mountain Climbers

Knee to Elbow

 

If you try this workout tag us @dyna_pro on Instagram and let us know how you like it!

DynaPro Core Sliders Ab Workout

 

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Total Body Medicine Ball Workout

If you’ve ever done a medicine ball workout, you understand the versatility and challenge it can add to your workouts!

Are there benefits to using a medicine ball over dumbbells? Yes!

  1. Versatile - you can add a medicine ball to almost any exercise! Most associate medicine balls for core related exercises, but you can work your entire body with them! I even put together a full body medicine ball workout for you to try at the end of this article. Get ready!
  2. Develop Explosive Power - why bother with that? So think of movements like jumping, pushing, leaping, kicking, throwing, etc. Doing movements like this requires your body to use maximal force to perform them and by adding a medicine ball, it will increase the intensity. By practicing these plyometric movements over time, you’ll notice you burn more calories and you’ll increase your strength & power. Plus! It’s a great way to practice your hand-eye coordination.
  3. Build Core Strength - medicine balls are fun and easy to add to any core exercise! You can hold a ball while doing crunches for extra resistance or while doing Russian Twists to strengthen your obliques more than you would without the weighted ball. Even adding a medicine ball to workouts like lunges, squats, deadlifts, you’ll need to engage your core to maintain good form and stay balanced during the exercises.
  4. Partner Friendly - you’ll be able to pass off, toss, or throw a medicine ball back and forth to a training partner (something we highly don’t recommend with a dumbbell). It’s way more fun to workout with a friend and these exercises are extra practice with your explosive power movements.
  5. Inexpensive and Portable - you can get a whole set of medicine balls with varying weights for relatively cheap. Or if you just want one ball, that works too! Since the weights of the balls don’t go too high, you can also take them on the go with you (if you have a large enough duffle bag that is!)

Are you ready to try a full body medicine ball workout? You’ll see we’re working the WHOLE body and will also be working on some explosive movements (squat jumps and chest press push) See the workout below!

Make sure to grab the DynaPro Medicine Ball of your choice and get sweating!

 



The Full Body Medicine Ball Workout:

  1. Stationary lunges (15 reps each leg)  SS  Squat jumps (10 jumps) 4 sets
  2. Shoulder steering wheel turns (20 reps)  SS  Triceps press (15 reps)  4 set
  3. Chest press push (10 reps/pushes) 5 sets
  4. Russian Twist (20 reps each side) 5 sets

SS = Superset. Perform the first set of the first exercise, then immediately do the first set of the second exercise without any rest inbetween. Take a quick 60 second rest after completing the second exercise and then repeat! Perform all sets before moving on to the next superset or exercise.

If you try the workout, tag us @dyna_pro on Instagram and let us know what you think!!

Tips:

Stationary Lunges

Start with your feet together and medicine ball at your chest. Then step forward with one foot to drop into a lunge. Make sure you're stepping forward far enough so that your thigh can be parallel to the ground and so that your knee falls directly above your ankle. Drive through your heel and use your glutes to push you back up to standing. Then repeat with the other leg.

 

Squat Jumps

Plant your feet about shoulder width apart, hold (and keep) the medicine ball at your chest, squat down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground, then drive through your heels to push yourself up off the ground. This is an example of one of those "explosive power" movements we talked about earlier! Try to jump as high as you can to really push yourself in this exercise.

 

Shoulder Steering-Wheel Turns

Take a shoulder width stance with your feet, engage your core to keep your body from swaying back and forth or side to side. Hold the medicine ball directly out in front of you at shoulder height with your hands on each side of the ball, then turn the ball from side to side. With each turn you want to have your hand directly on top to completely go through each turn. Keeping your arms as straight as possible will make sure you're using your shoulders to keep the ball in place during the movement.

 

Triceps Press

Take a seat or stay standing, your preference! Raise the medicine ball above and behind your head so that your elbows create a 90 degree angle. Then, using your triceps, press the ball directly above your head and back down in a controlled motion. Engaging your core will keep you from swaying back and forth and using momentum to go through the motions.

Triceps Press Medicine Ball

 

Chest Press Push

Lay flat on the ground with the medicine ball at your chest. Keep your elbows out, as if you were doing a chest press with dumbbells, and push the ball up into the air as hard as you can. This will take some practice to control the ball to go directly above you and not off to either side. Again, this is one of those "explosive power" movements we talked about. This is also a great exercise to practice your hand-eye coordination!

Chest Press Push Medicine Ball

 

Russian Twist

Keep your feet planted on the ground or raise them up off the ground for an extra challenge. Also, lean back as far as you can before you feel yourself falling over. The lower you go, the more challenging the exercise will be. Make sure your back is straight (and not hunched over), then take the medicine ball to each side. To make sure you're twisting fully, tap the ball on the ground on each side! It's easy to just take the ball over to each side by extending your arms, but remember to keep your arms still and really twist at the core to engage your obliques!

Russian Twist Medicine Ball

 

Medicine Ball Total Body Workout

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