Warming up the body properly makes your client’s favorite activities safer and easier by getting the muscles ready. Warm up also increases blood flow and gets muscles activated for the more challenging task ahead.

Many of your clients will be hitting the trail without you this spring, summer, and fall – but you can be there as the voice reminding them of this important component of exercise. Skipping the warm-up for exercise is like missing breakfast or not having gas in your car before driving.

What’s easy to do is easy not to do.

Just like cutting up fresh fruit, warm-ups seem like they take a long time, but are actually a time saver in the long run. Warming up helps the body perform more efficiently on the trail, and reduces the risk of injury. Some of the best things in life, including warm-ups, are simple and underestimated.

Do This Not That

Having a sport specific warm-up designed for a given activity is ideal, but not necessary. Using jumping jacks or jogging is a common mistake made when warming up. These are good secondary warm-up exercises but can be too abrupt without primary warm-up exercises first.15321363_s

These six warm-up moves prepare the body for the trail and are in a progressive order. Have clients start with a few deep breaths and then perform each move for about 20 seconds or 10 repetitions.

  1. Ankle rolls. Make circles, point and flex or write your name. Before you put all your body weight on your feet, get them moving.
  2. Shoulder rolls. Roll them forward, backward, up and down. Move them in opposite directions of each other. Reach forward and pull back to get your shoulder blades and spine moving too.
  3. Arm circles.  Pretend you’re swimming. Do the front crawl, back stroke, breast stroke, etc.  Roll your wrists around while you’re at it.
  4. Torso rotations. Twist your body as far to the right as you can and then go left. Do this slowly and then gradually go faster.
  5. Side lunges. Step to the side with one leg and lunge over it slowly. Align your knee over your ankle. Hold for a few seconds. Step back to the center and switch sides.
  6. Jumping jacks. Now it’s time for advanced warm up moves! Get the heart rate up, expand the lungs and your off to a fun time on the trails.

Warm-up for Cool-Down

The best part about these exercises is that they can also be used as stretches at the end of an outdoor adventure. Aside from the jumping jacks…no one wants to do those after a long trail run or ride! Have clients do the same moves again, but slower.

Many muscles are contracting and tightening to help the body get to the top of the mountain. Moving them around slowly at the end of the journey helps them relax. It’s a friendly way to let your body know that you’re finished and give the muscles a much deserved reward. It also returns the body to homeostasis.

Have clients try these moves before they hit the trail next time and they will see first hand how good it feels!

What other warm up moves do you like to teach for hiking and biking?

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Beverly Hosford

Beverly Hosford, MA teaches anatomy and body awareness using a skeleton named Andy, balloons, play-doh, ribbons, guided visualizations, and corrective exercises. She is an instructor, author, and a business coach for fitness professionals. Learn how to help your clients sleep better with in Bev’s NFPT Sleep Coach Program and dive deeper into anatomy in her NFPT Fundamentals of Anatomy Course.