ALICE LIVEING ON...
This month, Alice gives your warm-up a makeover with her muscle activation hacks
There are two things I always include when I structure a warm-up: the first is mobilisation – stretching the muscles to improve range of motion – and the second is activation. Don’t know what that means? Allow me.
When you stretch before a workout, you open up new ranges of movement. Let’s take squatting. At the start of your session when your muscles are tighter, you may only get so low; but after mobilising the hips with rotation exercises and hip flexor stretches, you may find you can get a lot deeper. However, this can present a problem as your muscles will be unfamiliar with – and lack strength in – this new range. This puts you at risk of injury – and that, my friends, is where activation comes in. Activating and strengthening your muscles in their new range post-mobilisation means they’ll be far better prepared for the session ahead.
Warm-ups should be focused on the muscles you’re about to use, so if it’s a lower body workout, your glutes and hamstrings should always have some attention; if it’s upper body, focus on the lats and upper back.
Here are some of my favourite body-weight activation exercises. Include them as part of your warm-up next time you train – I guarantee you’ll notice a difference.