If there’s one thing guys skip in the gym more often than leg day, it’s their warmup.
Most people just start lifting weights as soon as they walk in. Fewer, smarter dudes begin by walking on a treadmill or pedaling on an exercise bike for a few minutes to get a sweat going. Both activities will get your core temperature up, but neither really prepares you to perform the exercises in your workout with proficiency.
Don Saladino, creator of the Men’s Health Superhero Shred program, offers a better way to warm up: using jumps, throws, and carry exercises to awaken the body and train it athletically.
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Want to check out this warmup, and all of Saladino’s other superhero-sculpting routines? You’ll need Superhero Shred. You can order the physical version of the program, or get it as part of our new All Out Studio streaming video on demand platform, available on iOS and Android.
The Jump-Throw-Carry Warmup
“Warming up on a treadmill doesn’t prepare the body to lift, move fast, or get into a deep squat or any other position you might find yourself in during your workout,” says Saladino. Jumping, throwing a medicine ball, and carrying a weight not only get your body warm and moving in and out of positions that you’ll use when you train, they make you a better athlete, help to prevent injury, and, he argues, they’re a lot more fun to do.
Saladino says you can do the jump, throw, and carry in any order, but do all three at the beginning of your workout, after you’ve done some mobility exercises to loosen up a bit (for example, hip circles, shoulder swings, etc.). Do 2 to 3 rounds of each exercise.
Jumping trains you to be explosive, and to absorb and redirect force. It has tremendous carryover to any sports where running or changing direction are involved. Any kind of jump will work, but choose one that you know you can perform safely. A simple box jump is a good place to start if you haven’t jumped since you were a kid (jump up onto a box that’s about the height of your foot when you raise your knee in front of you to hip level; step down to get off the box). You can also jump forward, or side to side, as in a skater hop.
How To Do The Skater Hop
Throwing a medicine ball works like jumping but for the upper body, helping you to apply more force to any ball-throwing you may do, as well as punching a heavy bag and pressing a barbell. It also helps to increase alertness and focus. “A lot of us get to the gym feeling tired,” says Saladino. “We need to wake up the body, and jumps and throws will do that.”
You can throw a ball into the ceiling or a wall, outside for distance, or into the floor. To avoid getting thrown out of your gym for causing damage, Saladino recommends the rainbow slam.
How To Do The Rainbow Slam
“I think carries might be the most underrated kind of exercise,” says Saladino. “They can develop strength, particularly in the grip, as well as endurance, and burn body fat.” The key is to think of them as a plank you perform while walking. That means keeping your joints stacked in perfect alignment and your core bracing hard. (In other words, don’t carry a weight as casually as you do your briefcase or gym bag.) You can carry dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides, at shoulder level, or overhead, and use one or both arms. To help correct muscle imbalances and add an extra core hit, Saladino likes the suitcase carry.
How To Do The Suitcase Carry
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