In the Zone: Mo’s Guide to the Best Pre-Workout Stretching

The last time we heard from personal trainer and fitness expert Mohamed Elzomor he was breaking down what the ideal week of working out should look like for those of us who are looking to get fit. Today, he’s giving us the inside scoop on a key element to getting the most out of your next workout: the pre- and post-workout stretch. Not only will proper stretching warm up your body so your muscles will be ready for the exercise, it also will help to prevent injury and increase heart rate and blood flow. Just another way Mo’s helping us all raise our game! —M.S. 

The types of stretches you do before and after your workout are very important. The importance of these stretches, however, is usually overlooked based on time, but doing some of the more boring corrective exercises and stretches will go a long way in keeping your body injury free. Prior to your workout, your stretches should be dynamic; in other words, they should be moving stretches. Here’s a look at two great pre-workout stretches that can really add to your routine:

The Swing Stretch: This is the dynamic version of the typical “bending over and holding a stretch” stretch that I see most people doing. Here, you are controlling your range of motion. First, stand up straight. Plant your left leg and swing your entire right leg forward and backwards 20 times. Repeat with right leg planted and swinging left leg. (Pro tip: When you hold the stretch for long periods of time, ideally for around 30 seconds to a minute, that is considered a static stretch—which is appropriate for after your workout is complete.) 

The Spiderman Stretch: If you’re limited on time, this is a great stretch that can be used both before and after your workout—it hits a lot of muscles at the same time. Begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over at the hips and get a good stretch in your hamstrings for a couple of seconds. Then, place your hands on the floor and walk yourself out into a straight-arm plank. Next, bring your right leg up and place your right foot on the outside of your hand. Pick your left arm up and point it towards the sky; you’ll feel a nice, deep twist/stretch in your upper body. Bring the foot back down, switch legs, and repeat on the other side.