The Best Warm Up and Cool Down Exercises

As a personal trainer, you should know the importance of warming up effectively before a work out and cooling down successfully afterwards. You need to make sure that you get your clients to understand the importance of efficient warm up and cool down exercises to help prevent injury. Here, we’ve come up with some of the best warm up and cool down exercises that you can use when training with your clients.

Warm up

sudden-rush-609722_640Muscles are like rubber bands – when cold, they are more likely to snap, but when warm, they are more flexible and resilient. When your clients muscles are properly warmed up, they are going to be able to perform each exercise with much better form, creating a more productive, fulfilling workout.

Here are some great examples of warm up ideas and exercises you could start incorporating into their sessions if you’re not already. You should aim to get your client to spend about 10-15 minutes of effective warm up exercises with some dynamic stretching.

  • Skipping Rope – This is a great, fun way to get your client warmed up. If your client wants to workout at home when they’re not training with you, this can be a great exercise to use: it is cheap and easy to buy a skipping rope. When incorporating other exercises into the warm up routine, aim to use the skipping rope for about 2-3 minutes, if this is the only warm up exercise aim for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Jumping Jacks – A simple exercise that everyone should know how to do, this will work the legs, core and heart all at the same time. 50-100 is a good number to aim for. 

The following exercises are good to incorporate with the above warm up exercises to create a fun and effective warm up session. Choose which one best suits your client and cater the amount of reps for each one depending on their fitness level and the toughness of the workout they’re about to do. The tougher the workout, the more they need to warm up and prep their muscles.

  • Leg Swings – Swing one leg out to the side, and then swing the leg back across your body in front of the other leg. Repeating this 10 times for each leg is a good starting point.

This helps warm up: Buttocks, inner thigh

  • Walking Lunges – It’s a good idea to have space to work on for this exercise, making sure that no one is going to get in the way. Step forward with one long stride, and then lower into a typical lunge position, pushing forward. Then to take another large step with the other leg, repeating the lunge position. Do this for about 10 lunges on each leg (so 20 large steps)

This helps warm up: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings

  • Deep Body Weight Squats – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms out in front of their body.  Next, drop as low as you can, pushing your buttocks out behind you, keeping knees behind toes, and squat, with your arms swinging back behind you. This should just be a typical squat position but aim to get as low as possible. Standing back up, bring your arms back out in front of you to the starting position. 20-30 reps is going to really push your client but is a good way to warm up.

This helps warm up: Quadriceps, inner thighs, hamstrings, buttocks

  • Mountain Climber – Starting in the push up position, lift your right leg off the floor and bring your right knee in towards your ight shoulder. Hold this position for two seconds and take it back to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg. Aim to repeat this for 10 reps on each leg.

This helps warm up: Abdominals, quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks 

  • Hip Raise with Reach – For the starting position, lie on your back, with your feet shoulder width apart and knees bent at 90 degrees. Your arms need to be 45 degrees out from your side with your palms facing up. Next, raise your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lifting your right arm and shoulder off the floor, reach for the ceiling, before reaching across your torso to tap the floor behind your left shoulder and returning to the starting position. Repeat for the other side. Try to do 8 reps for each arm.

This helps warm up: Glutes

Cool down

stretching-muscles-579122_640After a tough workout it’s easy for clients just to want to finish up and go home, but cooling down is equally important as the actual workout. Stopping suddenly after a workout without cooling down means your client’s blood pressure could drop and they could get very dizzy. Cooling down effectively is going to keep your clients limber and prevent tightness, helping to decrease next day soreness and promoting recovery. All of this is going to mean that the next day when your client comes to do their workout, they’re going to be able to keep putting in the same amount of effort, as they’re not going to be hurting from the previous days session.

When it comes to cooling down try and get your client to aim for about 5-10 minutes, just to help lower their heart rate and prevent soreness. It’s a good idea to start with something like a gentle jog or some walking and then doing some cool down stretches.

Below we’ve come up with some great cool down stretches for you to consider incorporating into your clients cool down sessions, if you’re not already using them.

  • Calf Stretches – Stretch out your calf muscles by having your feet shoulder width apart, step your right foot backwards, but with your foot facing forwards. Bend your left knee to about a 90-degree angle, with your knee above your toes and then lean forward. For the most effective way to do this workout, lean against a wall. With your heels firmly on the floor, you should feel the stretch in the back of your right leg. Repeat for the other leg.
  • Hamstring Stretches – Sit down with your right leg straight out in front of you and your left leg bent towards you, so that the sole of your left foot is resting against your inner right thigh. Bending at the hips, lean forward to reach your right foot. If you can’t reach that far, reach for as much as they can. You should be feeling the stretch at the back of your right thigh. Repeat with the left leg.
  • Stretch Lying – For this one,  lay on your side with your knees and inner thighs together. Your legs should be bent. Extend the lower leg out so that it is straight, keeping the top leg bent and grabbing the top legs foot with your hand. Exhale, pulling the foot further towards your buttock while pushing your pelvis out. Repeat for other leg.
  • Hand Down Spine – Standing, extend one hand down the centre of your back, with your fingers pointing downwards. With the other hand, grab the elbow and exhale slowly, pushing gently downward on the elbow. Repeat for other arm.

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