Jog five minutes or do a series of light calisthenics like jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups, squats prior to stretching. Dynamic stretching is a major part of warming up prior to any athletic movements. In order to reduce muscle fatigue and soreness and prevent injuries, perform a good warm-up using these dynamic/static stretches. You can also use these on the back end of a hard workout to cool-down from hard activity.
Jog or Bike 5 minutes – Get the blood flowing.
Butt Kickers - 1 minute: Jog slowly and flex your hamstrings to pull your heels to your butt on each step. Do with knees down and knees up for 30-60 seconds.
Frankenstein Walks - 1 minute: Walk and kick high each step. Try to kick your hands in front of you. Do 10 kicks with each leg.
Bounding - 1 minute: Do high powered skipping for 1 minute. Start off with regular skipping then lift knees high each step. Do in place for 1 minute or across a 50-100-yard field.
Side steps - 30 seconds each direction: Work lateral movement into the warm-up. Mix in a few squats with cross-overs. Do for 1 minute back and forth in each direction.
Calf/Shin Warm-up – 1 minute: Alternate lifting heels off the floor and toes off the floor. This is a shins/calves builder to help strengthen legs for running/rucking.
Burpees – 1 minute: Drop into the pushup position. Quickly drop your chest to the floor and back to the up position. Bring your feet up and stand and jump 4-6” off the ground to finish the rep.
Light Arm Shoulder/Chest stretch: Pull your arm across your torso to stretch rear/deltoid and trapezius region. Then pull your arms backward as far as you can to stretch the chest/front shoulder connections.
Thigh Stretch – Standing: - Standing, bend your knee and grab your foot at the ankle. Pull your heel to your butt and push your hips forward. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Hamstring Stretch #1 and #2: - From the standing position, bend forward at the waist and come close to touching your toes, slightly bend your knees and pull your torso closer to your legs. Go back and forth from straight legs to bent knees to feel the top/bottom part of the hamstring stretch. You should feel this stretching the back of your thighs.
Back roll: Sit on foam roller and move slowly back and forth as you lie on the roller. Move your legs to move your body over the roller. Do for 1-2 minutes each body part.
ITB roll: Lay on your side in a side plank position and place foam roller under your hip. Move forward and roll your ITB from the hip to below the knee. Do for 1-2 minutes on each side of the leg.
Shin Roll: Place roller under your knees and slowly kneel down placing both shins on the roller. Slowly roll back and forth from bottom on the knee to the top of the ankle.
Myofascial Release – Learn this term and get a foam roller for yourself. See Foam Roller Article / Video
Core Workout Exercises
Abdominal exercises as a warm up before/after stretching
When you exercise your stomach muscles, make sure to exercise and stretch your back also. The stomach and lower back muscles are opposing muscle groups and if one is much stronger than the other, you can injure the weaker muscle group easily.
Advanced Crunch - (Legs up): Lie on your back with your feet straight in the air. Keep your legs straight up in the air for the advanced crunches. Cross your hands over your chest and bring your elbows to your knees by flexing your stomach.
Reverse Crunch: In the same position as the regular crunch, lift your knees and butt toward your elbows. Leave your head and upper body flat on the ground. Only move your legs and butt.
(Do not do if you have severe lower back injury or if this hurts your back)
Double Crunch: Lift hips and shoulders off the floor at the same time in one motion.
Right Elbow to Left Knee: Cross your left leg over your right leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee.
Left Elbow to Right Knee: Cross your right leg over your leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee.
Bicycles: This is a mix between opposite elbow to knee crunches with bicycling of your legs. Alternate from side to side for prescribed reps and do not let feet touch the floor.
Half Sit-ups: With your hands on your hips, lift your torso off the ground higher than a crunch but not as high as a full sit-up. Your middle/lower back will be on the floor still at the up position.
Sit-ups: Lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest, or hand locked behind your head (Army / FBI Style) keeping your knees slightly bent. Raise your upper body off the floor by contracting your abdominal muscles / hip flexors. Touch your elbows to your thighs and repeat.
Lower Back Exercise - Swimmers: Lie on your stomach and lift your feet and knees off the floor by flutter kicking repeatedly as if you were swimming freestyle – build up to 1:00 – or keep feet still but off the floor.
Lower Back Exercise #2 - Hip Rolls: Lie flat on your back with your knees in the air as in the middle picture below. Keep your shoulders on the floor, rotate your hips and legs to the left and right as shown below.
Upper back exercise #1 - Arm Haulers: Lie on your stomach. Lift your chest slightly off the floor and wave your arms from your sides to over your head for 30 seconds.
Upper back exercise #2 - Reverse Push-ups - Lie on your stomach in the down push-up position. Lift your hands off the floor instead of pushing the floor. This will strengthen your upper back muscles that oppose the chest muscles. Also known as "HAND RELEASE" of the hand release pushup of the Army CFT.
Upper back exercise #3 – Birds: Lie on your stomach with your arms spread to the height of your shoulders. Lift both arms off the floor until your shoulder blades “pinch” and place them slowly in the down position. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions mimicking a bird flying.
Plank Pose and One Arm Plank: To complete the Crunch Cycle, try getting into the plank position and see if you can hold it for at least 1 minute. As you advance, lean on the left / right arm as you increase the time. Or do the plank in the UP Pushup position.
In fact, when you fail at pushups during the workout, stay in the UP Pushup position for an extra 30-60 seconds each time. This will prepare you well for the long periods of time in the “leaning rest” as well as strengthen the core for crawling obstacles.
Dirty Dogs –In the all fours position again, lift your right leg from the hip working the glutes to help balance the hip / ITB / thigh connections.
(Great for hip development)
Bear Crawls – Walk like a bear on all fours. This gets tough after a couple hundred yards.
Advanced Abdominal Exercises: Do not do if you are a beginner! These exercises are not healthy for weak or injured backs. If you cannot do the lower back exercise / plank pose exercises for 1:00 – do not attempt these exercises.
Tip to reduce strain on the lower back WITH LEG LEVERS, FLUTTERKICKS
Lift your butt off the ground about an inch and place your hands underneath your butt bone, thus taking some of the strain off the lower back.
Flutter-kicks - Place your hands under your hips. Lift your legs 6 inches off the floor and begin walking, raising each leg approximately 36 inches off the ground. Keep your legs straight and moving. This is a four count exercise.
Leg levers - Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Raising both legs approximately 36 inches off the ground, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.
Scissors – Lay on your back. Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Open and close both legs approximately 36 inches apart, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.
Atomic sit-ups - Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor as if you were doing a leg lever. Pull your knees toward your chest while simultaneously lifting your upper body off the floor. This is a mix between the situp and the leg lever.
Side Bends with Weight Overhead - This can be done with dumbbell or plate over your head held with both hands. Simply lean to the left and right at least 10 times each side.
Descriptions of the PT exercises
Regular Push-ups - Lie on the ground with your hands placed flat next to your chest. Your hands should be about shoulder width apart. Push yourself up by straightening your arms and keeping your back stiff. Look forward as you perform this exercise.
Wide Push-ups - From the same position as the previous push-up, place your hands about six to twelve inches away from your chest. Your hands should be greater than shoulder width apart. The slight change of the arm distance changes the focus of what muscle are exercised.
Triceps Push-ups - From the same position as the regular push-up, place your hands under your chest about 1-2 inches away from each other. Spread your legs in order to help with balance. This exercise will concentrate more on the triceps of the arm than the chest.
8 Count body builder push-ups - The all-time favorite group PT exercise and ideal for preparing for an obstacle course as a great simulation exercise when mixed with pull-ups and short runs / crawls etc…
Pull-ups (regular grip) - Grab the pull-up bar with your hands placed about shoulder width apart and your palms facing away from you. Pull yourself upward until your chin is over the bar and complete the exercise by slowly moving to the hanging position.
Pull-ups (reverse grip) - Grab the pull-up bar with your hands placed about 2-3 inches apart with your palms facing you. Pull yourself upward until your chin is over the bar and complete the exercise by slowly moving to the hanging position.
*note – using reverse grip - keep your hands in and do not go wider than your shoulders as you will develop some elbow tendonitis similar to that of tennis elbow
Parallel Bar dips - Grab the bars with your hands and put all of your weight on your arms and shoulders. Do not do these exercises with added weight, if you are a beginner, or if you have had a previous shoulder injury. To complete the exercise, bring yourself down so your elbows form a 90 degree angle (no less of an angle) and back to the up position.
Get good at pull-ups and dips as they will help you pull yourself up and over climbing obstacles when faced with a wall, rope, or ladder climb
Squats - Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Drop your butt back as though sitting in a chair. Concentrate on squeezing your glutes in your upward motion. Keep your heels on the ground and knees over your ankles. Your shins should be near vertical at all times. Extend your buttocks backward. Do with or without a dumbbell / kettlebell in your hands.
Wood Chopper Squat with Dumbbell – Add a dumbbell to the squat by swinging the weight over your head when standing and between your legs when squatting. Keep head up and back straight.
Kettle bell swing – Similar to the woodchopper squat, explode with your legs and hips to get the kettlebell or dumbbell above your head.
Walking Lunge - Keep your chest up high and your stomach tight. Take a long step forward and drop your back knee toward the ground. Stand up on your forward leg, bringing your feet together and repeat with the other leg. Make sure your knee never extends past your foot. Keep your shin vertical in other words.
Wood Chopper Lunges with Dumbbell – Add a dumbbell and swing from over your head to the outside of the front leg when in the down position.
Box jump - 20 inches universal height – straighten torso / hips for complete repetition. Step or jump down and repeat.
MJDB #1 - Multi-Joint Dumbbell Exercise: Perform a bicep curl, then press the dumbbells over your head with a military press, and then go straight into a triceps extension - repeat in reverse order to get to the starting position. Option: Go heavier and skip the triceps extension if you prefer.
1 2 3 4
Then repeat in reverse order 4,3,2,1.
MJDB #2: Same as above but add in a squat when your hands are in the down bicep position (by your hips)
Same as MJDB#1 plus a deep squat / deadlift
MJDB #3: Same as MJDB #2 plus you add in a squat thrust and 1-5 push-ups. 1-5 push-ups is recommended per repetition.
Repeat in reverse order and continue MJDB#3
The Light Weight Shoulder Workout
This shoulder routine is great for post rotator cuff / shoulder surgery physical therapy patients. But if you are tired of heavy shoulder workouts, this will be a great shoulder workout for you. See link to video that explains all of the exercises in actual progression.
LATERAL RAISE: More than 5 pound dumbbells is not recommended for this exercise. Keep your shoulders back and your chest high. Lift weights parallel to ground in a smooth controlled motion, keep your palms facing the ground. Follow the next 6 exercises without stopping.
Thumbs up: After performing 10 regular lateral raises, do 10 lateral raises with your thumbs up, touching your hips with your palms facing away from you and raising your arms no higher than shoulder height.
Thumbs down: Continue with side lateral raises. As you lift your arms upward, keep your thumbs down. Repeat for 10 times.
FRONT RAISE - THUMBS-UP: Now, for 10 more repetitions, to work your front deltoids. Lift the dumbbells from your waist to shoulder height keeping your thumbs up and arms straight.
CROSS-OVERS: With your palms facing away from you and arms relaxed in front of your hips, bring your arms up and over your head as if you were doing a jumping jack (without jumping). Cross your arms IN FRONT of your head and bring them back to your hips for 10 repetitions.
MILITARY PRESS: Place one foot ahead of the other as shown and knees slightly bent to reduce strain on your lower back. Exhale as you push the weights over your head for 10 final repetitions in the mega-shoulder pump workout. Slowly lower them to shoulder height and repeat. Muscles used are shoulders and triceps (back of arm).
Weight Lifting Exercises Explained
Weight training exercises build muscle, joint and tendon strength needed for any contact sport. NEVER begin lifting weights if you have not warmed-up properly. You could tear and/or strain the muscles you are trying to develop.
Bench Press: Lie on your back on a bench, placing the legs bent with feet flat on the floor on both sides of the bench. Extend your arms upward, grab the bar or dumbbells just greater than shoulder width and lower the bar to your chest slowly. The bar should hit just below the nipples on your sternum. Extend your arms again to a locked position and repeat several times.
Pull-down Machine – This is an easier form of pull-ups, but you have to start somewhere. Using a pull-down machine, grab the bar, sit down and pull the bar to your collar bones. Keep the bar in front of you. Keep the bar moving in front of your body / not behind your head. Change grips as you can on the pull-up bar (wide, regular, close and reverse).
Dead Lift / Power Clean Starting Position - Side View - Keep your head up, back straight, and lift with your legs, not only your back.
Dead Lift – With the barbell on the ground, place feet about shoulder width apart and bend down to grab the bar as shown. Keep your back straight and your head upright. Pull the barbell to your hips by standing (straighten legs and keep hips forward). Use the legs and hips to lift the weight NOT YOUR lower back. DO NOT DO THIS EXERCISE WITH HEAVY WEIGHT IF YOU HAVE NEVER TRIED THIS EXERCISE. Try the MJDBs instead.
Power Clean is one of the most dynamic exercises in athletics. Make this movement fast and get the momentum of the barbell moving fast from the start so it is an easy transition with the power relay into the torso / arms.
Hang clean - Pull the barbell to your hips by standing (straighten legs and keep hips forward – dead lift). Use the legs and hips to lift the weight NOT YOUR lower back. Now swing the barbell to the chest by bending your knees and dropping your waist 6-12 inches. Drop weight to your waist and repeat - DO WITH LIGHT WEIGHT BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS. (MJDBs for beginners to barbell lifting)
Hang Clean with Front Squat Option - as with the power clean the front squat is optional but a great addition to all muscle groups. With the bar stopped at your waist. Slowly drop a few inches and explode as you would do with a power clean. Hang clean is a power clean that starts with the barbell at your waist.
Thruster (front squat into over head press) – Explode upward from the front squat position straight into an overhead press or push press.
Thrusters with dumbbells – You can do these with dumbbells as well or even a single plate. The goal is to squat and forcefully stand and use the momentum of the upward movement to easily lift the weight over your head.