Before doing any rigorous exercise, it is essential to do a quick warm-up. Warm-ups usually involve simple rhythmic motions and stretching routines that prepare your body for physical exertion by increasing circulation. Through warming-up, you also reduce the tension in your joints and muscles.
This activity also prevents muscle cramps, gives you a better range of motion, and increases your ligaments and tendons’ elasticity. You could easily include these dance-inspired warm-up routines into your work-outs, making them more enjoyable.
This ballet-inspired warm-up allows you to engage your leg and thigh muscles. In this exercise, you bend your knees and straighten them while keeping your heels firmly on the ground. While doing this movement, your hips should be turned outward at the hip joints, resembling a butterfly opening its wings.
As you go lower, you should keep your tailbone pointing downwards, straight between your heels. Bend as profoundly as you can, making sure that your knees are bent over above your toes. As you straighten, push your entire feet and legs against the floor. You can do this several times.
This move, which is also ballet-inspired, increases the circulation to your lower body and strengthens your legs, feet, and core muscles. You can start by keeping both legs straight, pressing one foot to the floor, and moving it away from the other leg. As this leg leaves the floor, ensure that you are arching your foot and pointing through your ankle.
Arch your instep even as you keep the ball of your working leg’s foot pressed to the floor. Continue extending your foot until the toes are fully stretched. Once you have fully extended your working leg, reverse the motion until your foot is firmly planted on the ground. Repeat the movement for the other leg.
As the name suggests, this fun warm-up routine is inspired by Jazz dance. In this move, keep your back straight, head up, and pull your shoulders back. While keeping your hips square, keep the knee of your supporting leg locked and the heel firmly pushed into the floor. Kick your other leg straight, keeping your toes pointed. You can alternate legs and change the motion from straight kicks to lateral and roundhouse kicks.
Inspired by various dances such as tap-dancing, front taps also encourage circulation to the legs and reduce tension in the muscles. To do this warm-up, keep your knees bent and reach forward with one leg, tap your foot, and then return it to the starting position, bringing your feet together. You can do this several times with one leg before switching to the other foot. You can also alternate toes and heels, bringing variety to the warm-up.
Isolations, which are a significant part of Jazz dance classes, involve warming up specific parts of the body while still keeping others. Performers, such as those who dance on Broadway, often isolate their shoulders, hands, heads, hips, and ribs.
It is essential to maintain great posture and only move the section you want to warm up. Generally, your back should be extended, your chest lifted, knees bent slightly, and shoulders pressed down.
Another Jazz-inspired movement, this warm-up, is excellent for your upper back muscles and the back of your shoulders. Start with your feet wide apart. Put your weight on your right leg and reach out to the other side with your left leg. The toes of your working leg should be tapping the floor.
With both arms, reach up overhead, with your fingers spread wide, i.e., jazz hands. It would be best to flatten your left foot, bringing your weight down on both legs. Bring down your arms, keeping both hands fisted at your shoulder and elbows bent. Bring your feet together and repeat the movement with your right leg.
This movement, which is often incorporated in basic hip-hop dances, is a simple and fun way to warm up. First, you should take a wide step to the right, then bring your left foot to meet with the right. Step to the right again, bring in your left foot to meet the right. Repeat this movement around four times before switching legs and moving left.
Though some athletes, dancers, or other exercise buffs may not see warming-up as necessary. However, warming-up has been shown to increase flexibility, circulation, and reduce injury and soreness during strenuous activities.
Additionally, there are certain stretches you can include in your warm up to help with specific problem areas, for example a lot of people struggle with back pain. To check these out, click here.
Written by Stephanie Snyder
IMAGE SOURCE: ENVATO