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TheraGear Staff
Health and Fitness News Article - TheraGear Article Resource

Warm-Up Exercise

Article #88

A good warm up will prepare your body for activity, prevent injury and improve your performance. Look at it as an intro to your exercise. There are 3 main parts of your warm up:

1. Loosening Up Exercises

This is what I call "oiling the joints". Move your joints steadily, either up and down, side to side or circular movements (backwards and forwards) depending on which joint it is. This will circulate the fluid that will help them move freely.

Which joints for warm up exercises?

Toes, ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, neck, elbows, wrists and fingers.

I recommend that order, but always do shoulders before neck. Repeat each movement 6 to 8 times before moving on to the next joint. You can spend longer on joints that will be specifically used in your exercise.


Avoid Injury - SideNote for warm up exercises

Take it easy! Each movement should be smooth. Any jerky or sudden sharp movements at this stage can result in injury.

This is NOT stretching. That will come later.


2. Pulse Raising Exercises

These will gradually raise your heart rate and warm your body. This will prepare your cardiovascular system for activity and warm your muscles up so that it is safe to stretch them.

These warm up exercises should make you breathe faster, but NOT be out of breath. Examples are:

(Less strenuous) Walking, jogging, sidestepping, shuffling, dodging, pivoting, low jumps, skipping (More strenuous).

It's fun to be imaginative with these warm up exercises and adapt them to your sport or workout. For example you could throw and catch a ball whilst jogging. That will also prepare your hand-eye co-ordination, if your activity requires it.

It's a good idea to do a combination of these warm up exercises, going from less strenuous and ending with more strenuous. This will ensure a gradual increase.

3. Warm Up Stretching

These static (i.e. no bouncing) stretches will gently lengthen your muscles to prepare them for further activity. This will help to prevent pulls, strains and other injuries.

Stretches should only be done when your muscles are warm. Move into the stretch slowly, hold it still for 10 to 12 seconds and move out of the stretch slowly.

Take the stretch to the point where you feel mild discomfort. There should be no feeling of pain. Try and relax whilst stretching, breathe as normal.

It's best to focus on the muscle groups that you will mainly use in your activity. But I would suggest to spend at least the minimum time on all the stretches shown below.

Stretches (holding each stretch for 10 - 20 seconds)) are suitable as part of cooling down.

Warming up before strengthening exercises increases circulation to the muscles and reduces the risk of muscle injury.

- Groin Stretches..

Sit with your legs bent with heels together.

Hold your ankles or feet with both hands.

Keep your back straight and stomach in.

Let your knees towards the floor.

Feel the stretch on the inside of your thighs.


- Side Stretches..

Stand with your left hand on your hip and your right arm above your head.

Bend to the left without leaning forward or back.

Feel the stretch on your right side.

Repeat with your left arm.


- Shoulder Stretches..

Take your right arm across your chest.

Use your left wrist to push your right elbow towards your chest.

Keep the rest of your body facing forward.

Feel the stretch on your right shoulder.

Repeat with your left arm.


- Arm and Chest Stretch..

Put your right hand against a wall and turn your body to face the left.

Your inner right elbow and shoulder should now be against the wall too.

Feel the stretch in your right biceps and chest.

Repeat with your left arm.


- Triceps Stretch..

Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand behind your head down along your spine.

Use your left hand to further push your right elbow down.

Feel the stretch in your right triceps.

Repeat with your left arm.