Mobilisation Warm Up Routine

How many times do you roll up to the gym and just start pounding away those treadmill sprints or throwing yourself into a HIIT session full of burpees and plyometric jumps? I get it, your time is limited and you want to get in and out quickly so you have time to shower and grab a coffee whilst dashing to the office. But missing out warming up is a sure-fire ticket to injury-town and actually means your skipping a prime opportunity for MORE gains.

How? Well in the process awakening and mobilising your body, you are switching on all the systems that encourage adaptation – i.e. your progression to exercise. Your body is a complex network and by including just a short and efficient mobilisation warm up into your session, you are not only lifting your heart rate (cardiovascular system), lubricating your joints and lengthening out your muscles (skeletal and muscular systems) to maximise your range and depth of movements, but you are also waking up and switching on the pathways between the mind and the body (nervous system), allowing you to activate the muscles you will be targeting in your work. The outcome – an advanced and enhanced sophisticated feedback loop that will provide you those results you are working hard for.  

This is my current favourite mobilisation warm up sequence. It hits all the major joints, activates the deep core muscles & spinal stabilisers and drops you into your body, mentally preparing for the work ahead. To benefit from the warm up, try to connect the breath- deep inhales through the nose and exhales out through the mouth –to enable the mind to focus and zone in.

Move through each exercise 10 times. Read below for descriptions & scroll down for video!

Roll Down Walk Outs

Target muscles: Spine, core, shoulders, hamstrings

Start standing tall in a neutral alignment, feet hip distance apart. Initiating from the top of the head, roll down through the spine, mobilising each vertebra, to find a forward fold. Soften the knees as much as needed to find the palms flat on the floor, then walking one hand out at a time, find a plank position – hands directly underneath the shoulders, torso in one long line with legs straight and heels pressing away from the head. Pause for a moment then walk the hands back towards the feet before rolling back up through the spine, initiating this time from the tailbone, with the head being the last thing to roll up.

Pike to Plank

Target muscles: Hamstrings, calves, core, spine, shoulders

From the plank position, lift the hips high to find an inverted V shape. Press the heels down towards the ground, aiming to lengthen the back of the legs, whilst simultaneously trying to iron out the back and draw the shoulders away from the ears. Ripple from the tailbone through the spine to come back to the plank position.

Shoulder Taps

Target muscles: Core, shoulders, arms, back

Maintaining your plank position lift the left hand and tap the front of your right shoulder before placing it back down and repeating with the right hand. Keep alternating and try to lift the abdominals away from the floor towards your spinal column and avoiding a sway across the hips.

Runners Lunge to Plank

Target muscles: Hip flexors, quadriceps, glutes, core

Starting in the long plank position, step your leg foot up to beside your left wrist, finding a deep bend in the left knee and length down the front of the right leg. Then step the left foot back, pausing in plank before alternating to step the right foot to the outside of the right wrist.

Low Extended Childs Pose Hover to Plank

Target muscles: Core, spine, shoulders, hip flexors

From the plank position, bend deeply in both knees and send the tail bone back towards the heels, rounding the spine and trying to compress yourself in as much as possible without letting the knees drop the floor. Then press from the heels and shoot forward back to the plank position.

Deep Squat to Forward Fold

Target muscles: Inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes, spine

From the plank position, step both feet slightly wider than the outsides of the wrists and externally rotate the legs. Bring the hands into prayer position at the chest, with a gentle press of the elbows to the inner seam of the knees to gently ease them back (option: you can always rest the hands on the floor here for more support). Try to really open and expand the chest as you stretch in the deep squat, before lifting the hips high and reaching the head towards the ground to find a forward fold. Bend the knees and lower the pelvis to come back into the deep squat.