The Universal Warm-Up and Cool-Down

    By 24Life

No matter what you’ve resolved to do, you’ll get more from your movement—and minimize chances of injury—if you get your body ready to go with a dynamic warm-up. And because recovery is crucial to physiological and mental growth, not to mention future performance, be sure to end with a proper cool-down. Not just any movement will do, though. These four warm-up moves activate your tissues and nervous system with resistance and rotation so that you’re ready for body-weight or loaded movement in all directions. These four cool-down moves release the chemical byproducts of movement that build up in your tissues and balance your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity to help regulate hormones and processes that are essential to recovery and growth.

Perform each movement for 60 seconds.


Backward Zigzag Band Walk

  • Begin standing with your feet wider than your hips, a band around your thighs and your knees slightly bent.
  • Step your right foot back, keeping the band taut, and open your right hip. Step your left foot back and open through your left hip.
  • Continue walking back in a zigzag movement, keeping the band taut with each step.

Medicine-Ball Deadlift to Overhead Extension

  • Begin standing with your feet wider than your hips, holding a medicine ball in front of your chest.
  • Tip forward from your hips and bend your knees to bring the ball down, keeping your back flat, then lift the ball straight up over your head on your way to stand, following the ball with your eyes. Repeat in a fluid motion.

Dead Bug With Knee Press

  • Begin lying on your back with your knees over hips, bent at 90 degrees. Raise your right hand toward the ceiling, directly over your right shoulder, and bend your left elbow, bringing your left hand next to your face.
  • Extend your left leg out to hover over the ground, then bring your knee back in toward your chest, pressing your right hand into your left knee. Hold, repeat and then switch sides.

Quadruped Thoracic T Rotation

  • Begin in a quadruped position with your knees under your hips, your toes on the ground and your hands under your shoulders.
  • Bring your right arm up, placing your hand behind your head.
  • Open up through your chest while rotating your right elbow up toward the ceiling. Hold for a few breaths, then release. Repeat, then perform on the opposite side.


Runner’s Stretch With Hip Extension

  • Begin seated with your right leg in front (knee bent to 90 degrees) and your left leg behind (knee bent to 90 degrees).
  • Drive your hips up toward the ceiling, balancing on your right hand and stacked under your right shoulder. Hold.
  • Release, then repeat on the opposite side.

Down Dog and Up Dog

  • Start in a tabletop position, your shoulders directly above your wrists and your hips directly above your knees.
  • Tuck your toes under and straighten your arms and legs. Press your hips back and up into Down Dog. Engage your core and press your heels down toward the floor.
  • Swing your pelvis forward and upward to lift your chest to the ceiling, bringing your shoulders away from your ears and coming onto the tops of your feet.
  • Repeat, alternating between Down Dog and Up Dog.

Lateral Lunge Hold With Band Anti-Rotation and Parasympathetic Breathing

  • Kneel with both knees on the ground.
  • Keep your right knee bent and extend your left leg straight out to the side, with your left foot on the ground.
  • Hold a band in your hands, with your right hand behind your head and your left hand behind your hips.
  • Gently pull the band taut with your left hand and hold for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Weighted Breathing With Medicine Ball

  • Begin lying on your back with knees bent and your feet on the ground, and place a medicine ball or Sand Bell on your belly.
  • Breathe in through your nose for four counts, drawing breath into your belly.
  • Release the breath through your mouth for four counts. Repeat.

Photo credit: Studio Firma, Stocksy
GIFs: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com
Model: Benedict “Ben” Meneses, 24 Hour Fitness


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