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Stretches and Activation Movements

WEIGHTLIFTING STRETCHES AND ACTIVATION MOVEMENTS

Let’s be honest, hitting a PR or crushing a heavy barbell is always fun, but you know what’s not always so fun? Figuring out a warming up to get you ready for a solid lifting session. Luckily, there are tons of resources out there to help you crush your weightlifting goals!

Here at 2POOD, we want to help you crush a PR and feel confident when you are entering the gym, and that is why we have curated a list of essential stretches and activation movements for your next lifting session.

*These are stretches that are meant to warm you up for more activity, do not perform if these cause pain or discomfort.

*Most of these movements can be done without any equipment, or with a PVC pipe and a light resistance band.


POSTERIOR CHAIN STRETCHES AND ACTIVATION MOVEMENTS:

Pigeon Stretch: Begin on the ground, with one leg outstretched towards the back of you and the other leg out in front of you bent at a 90 degree angle. To make this an active stretch, take your torso and lean towards your front leg and sway between the left and right sides of your bent leg while the back leg stays outstretched.

Windshield Wipers:  Laying flat on your back, bend your knees and rotate your lower body from one side to the other, this should be a slow and controlled movement.

Glute bridges: With laying on the ground bend knees and place feet flat on the ground. To begin the movement thrust hips upwards and squeeze your butt at the top. Make sure to press knees out and squeeze at the top of the movement. Do these reps slowed and controlled. For added intensity place a circular band around your knees. The band will remind you to press you knees out throughout the movement.  

Hip CARs (Controlled articular rotations):  Standing and holding on to something for support, take your right leg and lift it high above your hip crease and rotate it backwards. Once you’ve completed a set on your right leg switch sides.

Bulgarian split squats:  Set one foot behind you and place it on an elevated surface (bench, stool, etc.), with your back foot resting on the elevated surface, take your front leg out in front of you and perform a lunge motion that allows the back knee to slowly go to the ground. Switch sides and repeat. Stay slow and controlled for this movement.

Cossack squats:  Begin in a standing position with your legs outstretched on your sides, slowly shift your weight to one side and bend down performing a squat on one side while the opposite leg stays stretched out and straight. Try to get as deep as you can into a squat on the bent leg without letting your heel raise off the ground. Switch legs between reps.

Banded side-lunges: Begin in a standing position with a band wrapped around your knees or ankles. Shift weight from one side to perform a lunge allowing the band to resist your lunging side. Alternate sides between reps.

Banded good-mornings:  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a resistance band and place it under your feet and stretch the band up over your head and rest it on your trap muscles. Slightly bend your knees and then slowly bend at your hips shifting your weight back. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Shift hips back without bending your knees more and keeping your back tight, stopping right before you lose tension or your back arches and then fully extend your hips back to the starting position. 

Runners lunges:  Go into a lunge position, take your hands and place them on the inside of the leg that is bent out in front of you. If this is easy, try to move down to your elbows while your hands are on the inside of your leg. The closer your torso is to the ground the more of a stretch you should feel. 

Standing dive throughs:Begin standing with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Then reach both arms over your head (really reach up) then take your arms and dive down through your legs, reaching behind you.

Cat/Cow:  Begin on your hands and knees. Arch your back squeezing your core and pushing your back up towards the sky (this is cat), then slowly transition to pushing your core down towards the ground ending in an arched position (this is cow). Transition between the two. 

Leg swings:  Holding on to a wall or chair with one arm for support, take the opposite leg and swing it up towards your face and then back behind you repetitively, then alternative legs.

Scorpions:  Begin on your stomach with your arms stretched out in to make a T, then take your left leg and swing it over to your right hand, bring your left leg back to the start position and take your right leg and swing it to your left hand and then bring it back to the start position. Alternate sides in between each rep. 

Squat hold and reach:  Begin in a deep squat position with elbows pressing into your knees to really open up your hips while you squat. Then take one arm and reach up above you, look at your hand as it is fully extended overhead and then alternate arms continuously for all the reps. (you may hold on to something with the opposite hand for added support).

Russian baby-makers:  Begin in a deep frog squat position (feet out wider than a normal squat), then grab the outer part of your foot while your elbows are on the inside of your legs, your chest should be down by your elbows and knees. Hold this pose.

Banded Walks:  With a hip resistance band, place around your ankles and bend your knees into a power position. Once here, step forward while keeping your knees slightly bent and walk twenty steps forward. Then repeat the motion for twenty steps backpacks. Repeat as necessary for proper glute and hip activation.


UPPER BODY ACTIVATION AND STRETCHES

Seal swings:  In a standing position outstretch your arms into a T and then wrap them around yourself like you are giving yourself a hug. Swinging through the T to hug repetitively.

Forearm stretch:  On your hands and knees twist your hands inwards towards your body while your elbows are fully extended, hold this position, to increase the stretch move your body weight farther over your shoulders.

Over and backs:  In a standing position outstretch your arms at your sides with palms facing out, swing your arms up over your head and then bring them back down to your sides. Repeat for reps.  

Is, Ts, and Ys with very light weight or no weight:

(I)Laying on your stomach start with your arms outstretched over your head with your thumbs up/or with light weights (2.5-5lbs plates). Keep your body neutral, this should be a focus on your shoulders. Begin pulsing your shoulders/arms in small up and down motions.

(T)Laying on your stomach start with your arms outstretched making a T with your body with your palms facing the ground or with light weights (2.5-5lbs plates). Keep your body neutral, this should be a focus on your shoulders. Begin pulsing your shoulders/arms in small up and down motions.

(Y)Laying on your stomach start with your arms outstretched in between an I and a T, making a Y with your body with your palms facing the ground or with light weights (2.5-5lbs plates). Keep your body neutral, this should be a focus on your shoulders. Begin pulsing your shoulders/arms in small up and down motions. 

Arm circles:  Forward and backward: In a standing position, take your arms and make a motion like you are tracing large circles in the air, rotating your shoulders forward and backwards.

Torso rotations:  Seated or standing, outstretched your arms and isolate the movement to your upper body. Rotate the torso and keep your legs still.

PVC pipe shoulder pass throughs:  With a PVC pipe, broomstick, etc. take a snatch grip/wide grip, keep arms fully locked out, and shrug your shoulders up and rotate the PVC pipe up over your head and finish with it behind you. Keep rotating the PVC pipe in front and behind you for set reps.

 

Band pull-aparts across chest:  With a light resistance band, grab it with both hands in front of your chest and pull the band apart engaging your upper back, lats, and shoulders. For more resistance put hands closer together on the band, for less resistance put hands farther apart on the band.

Band pull-aparts overhead:  With a light resistance band, grab it with both hands over your head and pull the band apart, ending in a T position. Engaging your upper back, lats, and shoulders. For more resistance put hands closer together on the band, for less resistance put hands farther apart on the band.


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For more workout related content you can check out: 2POOD Squat Series with Tasia Percevecz 

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