Warm up prior to any exercise is key as it raises the heart rate and circulation of blood to the muscles to prepare for an increase in activity. Complete the following steps before performing light reps on the bench press to warm up effectively for a bigger bench press:
1) Self-Myofascial Release:
Foam rolling decreases tissue density and muscle viscosity, while increasing blood flow into the muscles. Apply moderate pressure to the chest, lats, and tricep muscles. Do not roll over joints. Pause on any tender spots for several seconds.
2) Dynamic Warmup:
a. Side Lying Windmills: Lie down with your back on the floor with one leg extended and the other leg crossed over your body with the knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Extend both arms in the same direction as the knee that is pointed to the side. With the top arm, slowly raise it in a circular motion over your chest to reach the opposite side. Then bring the arm back to meet the other arm. Do not move either legs through out the motion. Repeat 10 times on each side.
b. 4-Point Clock Reaches:Loop a closed elastic band with mild resistance around your arms above your wrists. Kneeling on the ground, keep your spine in neutral posture with your inner core muscles engaged. Imagine there is clock face numbered 9 to 3 O’clock on the ground in front of you. Begin by reaching the right hand to 12 O’clock and then back to the start position. Continue to 1 O’clock, 2 O’clock, 3 O’clock and then backwards up to 12 O’clock again. Repeat 5 times on each side.
c. External Rotation: Position your elbow by your side, shoulders relaxed and your posture in spine neutral. Holding on to a resistance band use your other hand to help it out to the end range of external rotation. The opposite hand is doing all the work pushing the band outward that is being held by your other hand. Then let the hand holding the band slowly return to the start position. Repeat 10 times on each side.
d. Push-ups: Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, then lower your body downwards until your chest nearly touches the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in and engage the core to keep a neutral spine. Bring your body back up by pushing upwards with your arms. Repeat 5-10 times.
3) Central Nervous System (CNS) Activation
a. Chest Throws:Stand perpendicular to a wall with feet shoulder-width apart. Holding a medicine ball level to your chest, use the momentum provided by your upper body, throw the ball, and catch it when it bounces or is tossed back to you. Repeat 10 times.
b. Ball slams: Stand shoulder-width apart, raise a medicine ball above your head. Using the momentum from your whole body, throw the ball downwards towards the floor. Repeat 10 times.
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