No matter what type of workout you’re doing, it’s necessary to warm up and stretch before you begin, in order to prevent injuries. You can’t move your muscles from complete rest to vigorous exercise without moving them through some easier motions first. And this is applicable to any form of exercise, whether it’s cardiovascular exercise, strength training or yoga.
When you’re trying to jump higher, you’ll be doing a combination of cardio and weights. No matter which aspect you might be focusing on, you’ll need to do a warm-up and stretches. Here are a few tips:
- Walking and Light Jogging: This is an easy way to warm up which anyone can do, no matter what their fitness level. Just getting up from your chair and taking a few rounds of the room can get your blood moving. You can also try walking on a treadmill if you’re working out at a gym. And once you’ve walked around a little bit and your body is ready for more, you can also try light jogging. At this point, however, remember to keep it light.
- Shaking It Up: Have you ever seen how dogs get out of water and shake their entire bodies? You can also try shaking your body up like that if you want to warm up. Try to involve each and every part of your body in the shake-up. You’ll soon end up feeling invigorated.
- Stationary Bike, Elliptical Trainer or Rowing Machine: These cardio machines are also good options for your pre-workout warm-up. Remember that at this point, the idea is just to get your blood moving, not to get to the heart of the workout. So set the machine to a lower level of resistance and just enjoy the feeling of moving your stiff muscles around.
- Working Out the Kinks: Do you feel achy in certain parts of your body when you’re beginning your workout? In that case, make sure that you work on that part a little more during your warm-up. For example, if your back is aching, you can do more twists or back stretches. If one of your ankles is stiffer than the other, try rotating it a bit more.
- Simple Stretches: There are a number of simple stretches you can do before you begin a workout. Many people prefer to do a little cardio first and then stretch because this brings the blood to your muscles and makes it easier to stretch more. In terms of simple stretches, you can just stretch your arms upwards and to the sides. You can also rotate your shoulders forwards and backwards. Do the same with your neck, remembering to turn it clockwise and anticlockwise. Touching your toes (or getting as far as you can go) is also a great, simple stretch that does the trick for your calves and hamstrings. You can also stand with your feet three-four feet apart and try to touch the ground in-between.
- Twists: A lot of people don’t realize it but twists are really good for your back. When you practice yoga, they recommend twists for any kind of backache. And if you live a more sedentary life, you probably have backache to some extent or the other. Try standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bring your arms straight up in front of you, then move them both to the back from one side and then the other, twisting your torso at the same time. Try to keep the movement gentle so that you don’t overstretch.
- Back Stretches: You can try standing straight and just stretching backwards to give your back a mild stretch. Or try lying facedown on the ground and gently push your upper body up, keeping your elbows bent. You shouldn’t try more difficult positions like upward-facing dog until you’re done with your warmup.