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Loosen up – the best warm-up

If you stretch when the muscles are cold, the risk of injury including pulled muscles is increased. Before you stretch, warm up the muscles with a low intensity activity such as walking for several minutes while gently pumping your arms. Using a light weight do a warm up set of the exercises you are intending to do to target the muscles. Stretching muscles after a more strenuous activity or exercise is also beneficial.
Save time by holding your stretches : It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Ideally, hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area. If you do so, you will need to do each stretch only once or twice for most muscle groups.
Ease into each stretch : Spend the first 15 seconds in an easy stretch, just to the point that you feel a mild tension – never bounce. The tension should be comfortable, not painful. Then stretch just a fraction of an inch farther until you again feel mild tension – not pain – and hold the stretch for 15 seconds. If you feel pain, that is too far. Back off to the point where the pain is gone, and that is where you will want to hold the stretch.
Breathe : Do not hold your breath while stretching. Exhale as you go into a stretch and then breathe slowly and evenly as you hold it.

The Best Warm-Up
If you have time for just one warm-up exercise, try the squat to stand. It improves mobility in the ankles, hamstrings, torso, and upper
back, and is particularly great before a squat workout. Place your feet slightly outside shoulder width and reach your arms overhead. keeping legs as straight as possible, bend at the hips and try to touch your toes. Now squat down to where your thighs are parallel to the floor, and let your arms hang inside your knees. keep your eyes focused ahead the whole time. Then from the squat position, reach both arms up to the ceiling, extending your upper back as much as possible. Now stand up. This is one repetition.

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