This month, Alice gives your warm-up a makeover with her mus­cle ac­ti­va­tion hacks

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS -


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.

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