With at-home kickboxing sessions, it’s tempting to jump straight in when no one’s urging you to do a warm-up. Or you’ve just nailed a workout so you’re feeling good and resort to skipping your cool down to collapse on the couch. Hold it right there!
Warming up and cooling down is super important to prevent injuries and soreness while also improving your overall flexibility - which comes in handy. Here’s how to do it the right way.
Warm-Up Using Dynamic Stretching
Dynamic is basically just a fancy word for “moving.” So, dynamic stretching refers to stretches that you move through. Using dynamic exercises in your warm-up both heat up your muscles and stretches them out without strain.
Examples of dynamic stretching for your warm-up includes:
- Leg swings
- Jumping jacks
When you do isolations, you’re “isolating” certain areas of the body to get them going. Isolations include neck rolls, shoulder rolls, and rib isolations.
Leg swings by swinging the leg front to back or side to side are both great for warming up the hips and loosening any tension before the kickboxing begins.
Jumping jacks are a classic dynamic stretch because it gets your heart rate pumping but also increases flexibility. As you move your legs in and out and your arms up and down, you’re getting a full-body wake-up call as you stretch and add some cardio.
Squats and lunges are pretty straight forward. But, when using them to warm up, you’ll want to take it easy. The idea is to loosen up your hips and knees while activating the muscles of your legs to get them prepared for what’s to come.
Cool Down Using Static Stretching
Cooling down requires more static stretching which means doing stretches that you hold still without moving through them.
Static stretches for your cool down include:
- Static neck stretches
- Crossbody shoulder stretches
- Forward folds/hamstring stretches
- Low lunges
- Figure fours
To cool down, instead of moving through a neck roll, for example, it’s best to do neck stretches that keep still. This includes bringing your ear to your shoulder and holding, bringing your chin to your chest and holding, and bringing your arm across your chest to stretch your shoulders.
Forward folds can be done both sitting and standing. Bend at the waist a fold forward over your legs that are either outstretched in front of you while seated or planted on the floor with slightly bent knees while standing.
Low lunges stretch your hip flexors and groin as you go deep into a lunge with your hands on the ground framing either side of your front foot.
Finally, a figure four stretch is where you make a four-shaped figure with your legs. Either sitting or standing, you’ll start by crossing one ankle just above the opposite knee. Bend your bottom or standing knee to get a deeper stretch. You should feel this one in the glutes and hips.
While these are only a small fraction of all the stretches that are safe for warm-ups and cooldowns, the thing to remember is to move through your warm-up and hold steady through your cooldown.
Put it to the test before and after your OOMPH kickboxing workouts!