Know Your Strength: Stretching and Lifting at Any Level

Dynamic Warm Up/Stretch Routine

Prior to starting, make sure to stay neutral and draw your belly button slightly in. There is no wrong way of doing this, just be dynamic and think of planes. We are three-dimensional creatures (we anticipate and react to situations), so make sure to go backward, sideways and rotate.

  1. Walking knee hug — be sure to go up on your toes
  2. Butt kicks — pump your arms like running
  3. High knees butt kicks — pump your arms like running
  4. Ankle grab (quad stretch)
  5. Forward lunge with arm swing
  6. Backward lunge with arm swing
  7. Side lunge — weight shift side to side and then push off, with arm swing or hug and un-hug yourself or rotation
  8. Side step with lead hip opening (hip external rotation) — arms out to side at 90 degrees abducted or same as hug or un-hug yourself with arms (try to coordinate hip opening with arms opening)
  9. Side step with lead hip closing (hip internal rotation) — for arm movement do the same mentioned in number 8
  10. Side grapevine (feet cross over and under) with arm swing or hug/un-hug
  11. Heel step, keeping the lead leg straight, butt back with ankle swipe — if you can't go that low, then just swipe thigh and work your way down toward ankle, which should help stretch your hamstrings
  12. Monster kick — same side hand to foot, then go to opposite side (alternate hand to leg kick), lastly you can swing arms over the top like a butterfly swim stroke
  13. Inchworm — fall forward in a diagonal or walkout with your hands (modify fall), pushup then inchworm up with your hands or feet into a standing position. Remember it is an inchworm, not foot worm. Slowly come up to get the good stretch and muscle contraction. As you come up to a stand, swipe the buttock and swing your arms up and squeeze the buttock. Then, turn diagonally to the opposite direction and repeat

Once you have the basic routine down, you can freestyle to challenge yourself by throwing a couple combinations together. This should help with transitional movements. An example of a combination is:

  • Knee Hug (#1) into a Forward Lunge with arm swing (#5) and then finish with Heel Step with Ankle Swipe (#11)
  • Try to go backwards or in opposite directions
  • A combination routine is three to five exercises or more
  • Remember you are only limited by your creativity

Upon the completion of your dynamic warm-up, you may proceed to your workout: kettlebell, weight training, jogging, hiking, etc. Please make sure you finish with static stretches. Turn your dynamic warm up into a static stretch by holding the pose for 10 to 30 seconds. This will be a great cool down and allow for muscle inhibition effect, resulting in relaxation.