That feeling when your alarm goes off and you’d rather sit through an HR induction than find a clean sports bra? Been there. You need an activation warm-up. “As you sleep, your core body temperature drops, your body becomes dehydrated and connective tissues are less flexible,” says strength and conditioning specialist Alex Zimmerman. “Flowing through slow, rhythmic movements improves blood circulation, increasing your range of motion, and prepares the nervous system for what’s next.” What’s next can be a 10km run, Pilates or, just making it to work on time.
Try this four-step workout sequence four mornings a week. Repeat the series twice, slowly speeding up the tempo of the final move each time.
Lie face-up on the floor, arms at your sides. Bend your right knee and lift your right leg over your left, then hold your right leg down with your left hand. Bend your left knee and grab the top of your left foot with your right hand. Inhale through your nose; lower your right shoulder towards the floor as you exhale through your mouth. Hold for five breaths, then return to start on the other side.
Start in a reverse tabletop position but with your hands facing away from your body and your bum a few centimetres off the floor. Lift your hips as you reach your right hand overhead and slightly to the left. Lower everything to return to start. That’s one rep; do eight, then switch sides.
Downward dog to mountain climber
Start in a push-up position. Shift your hips back and up towards the ceiling. Glide back into a push-up position, then draw your right knee to your right elbow. Return to start, then draw your left knee to your left elbow. Return to start, then shift your hips back again. That’s one rep; do six to eight.
Lateral lunge to overhead reach
Stand with your feet together. Step your left foot out about a metre or so and extend your arms overhead, then bend your left knee to lunge left, both feet facing forward. Lean to the left, your body forming a straight line from your right foot to your right hand. Return to start. That’s one rep; do 10, then switch sides.