By: Kirsty Godso
Often the most overlooked thing when it comes to high-intensity workouts is preparation through mobility and activation so that our body is prepared for the demands to come. We expect to throw our body straight into its max capacity and expect max results however, we'd be getting more out of our workout if we took an extra 10 minutes beforehand to ensure our muscles are ready to roll. This can include things like opening up the hips, shoulders, wrists, activating the glutes and core and raising your body temperature through bodyweight exercises.
Here's a few of my absolute favorite warm up drills pre HIIT:
Pec/shoulder opener + core activation: - Grab a foam roller and lie down on it with your hips at one end, head at the other (make sure your head and hips are fully supported). Start by lying still with your spine straight along the line of the roller, knees bent and feet resting on the floor with your arms in a cactus position to open up your pecs and shoulders. Stay still like this and focus on your breath for 30-60 seconds. Keeping the arms bent as they are, start to rotate the forearms forward and back opening up the shoulders and taking them through internal and external rotation. Repeat for 30-60 seconds. Go slow and use your breath. Stay lying on the roller but stretch your arms down on a 45 degree angle towards your lower body pressing your palms into the floor. You need to use your arms for stability! Lift your knees to table top position (knees above hips, shins parallel to the floor), and start to lower one heel at a time towards the ground. Use and inhale to lower down, an exhale to draw the leg back in then switch legs. Keep alternating for 30 seconds, then shorten the range and start to lower both heels together. This is your core activation and will fire up your lower abs. Focus on going slow and really using a deep breath from your lower belly. - Plant your feet back on the floor, and gently roll off to one side, pushing the roller away and quickly lie straight back onto your back so you can feel how open your shoulders are. You should also feel peaceful through the back and pelvis. (This is also a great sequence to do after flying or after a long day!)
-Full body Roll Up: Extend arms and legs long for a full body roll-up. Focusing on rolling up piece by piece with your arms in line with your ears and pulling your waist back towards you as you roll up then reaching fingers forward towards your toes, your body should look like a giant U shape. Sequentially roll back down to starting position unrolling your lower back, mid back then upper back and head down with control. This is great to mobilize the spine and get your lower abs working!
-Dead Bug: lying on your back, lift your legs to tabletop position (knees stacked over hips, shins parallel to the ground and feet slightly flexed), and arms straight up above your shoulders. Extend arm and opposite leg away from your body with an inhale and keep the other arm and leg still (one knee will be bent, one arm straight up). Exhale to bring the moving limbs back to starting position and switch to opposite pairing. Repeat for 10-12 reps going slow and focusing on breath. You will feel your core start to really fire up!
-Flipped Wrist Cat Cow: from quadruped position (knees under hips, hands under shoulders), flip your fingertips to face your knees to open up the wrists and the forearms. Then start to add a cat/cow rolling through extension and flexion of the spine. This helps a lot to open up the wrists and forearms as well as mobilize the spine before HIIT where you do a lot of plank dominant poses such as pushups, burpees etc.
-Kneeling Glute activation: starting on all fours, knees under hips, hands under shoulders, neck neutral, flow through the below sequence one side at a time:
- 10x Fire Hydrant - staying still on the left side of the body, open up the right knee to the side keeping a 90 degree bend at the knee, then draw back down.
- 10x Giant Forward circles: draw big circles forward with your right knee - this will mobilize the hip, activate the right glute and you’ll feel your obliques firing to try and stabilize your body.
- 10x Giant reverse circles: same thing in reverse! Then switch legs and repeat each exercise.