That doesn’t mean you should stand there reaching for your toes before warming up. In fact, static stretching before you workout—especially in the cold—can be harmful.
That’s why these four dynamic stretches are the perfect way to get your winter workout started right.
1. Toy Soldiers
Tight hamstrings and quads demand the infamous toy soldier kick. To perform it, stick your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Then walk forward, extending your legs (one at a time, of course) and kicking up to your hands with each step. Be sure not to overshoot your range of motion. Walk the length of a room two or three times.
This video does a great job showing you how to do the stretch effectively without having to keep your legs stick straight.
This stretch will have you feeling like a ballerina. Find a stable support, like a railing. (You can use a wall if a railing is unavailable.) Grip the support (or place your hands against the wall). Take your right leg and swing it across your body in front of your other leg, and then back out to your right side without rotating your torso. Do 20 reps. Repeat with your left leg.
3. Elbow Wings
To loosen up your shoulders and back, stand and allow your hands to hang at your sides, palms facing forward. Bring your hands to your shoulders, so your elbows are now pointing forward. Press your elbows in toward each other, stretching your back. Then begin to draw a circle with your elbows, moving upward, outward and down. Switch directions. Circle four times in each direction.
4. Full Body Hand Walk
This one is a popular favorite because it involves your full body and will stretch your legs, back and arms dynamically.
Stand up straight with your feet close together. Bend forward until your hands reach the ground. It’s ok to bend your knees slightly! Now walk your hands (but not your feet) forward until you nearly reach the ground, almost as though you are about to do a pushup. Then keep your hands still and walk your feet in. Stand up again. Repeat 8 times. Check it out in action here!
Do you use dynamic stretching? What’s your favorite way to get warmed up? Share in the comments!
If you’re looking for information on how else to weather the winter, check out our joint and muscle support supplements here.