The Super-Effective Workout Warm-Up To Do When You're Crunched For Time

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You woke up this morning determined that today would be the day you'd take your workout to the next level—to try something completely new that you have never tried before. You mapped out your workout, carbed up, and filled your water bottle.

Then you get to the gym and look for your favorite treadmill so you can warm up.

Wait a second; I thought today was the day you were changing your routine! If you want to shake it up and introduce something fresh, why not start with your warm-up?

First things first: Why warm-ups matter

A car needs to be warmed up before going on a trip. Apparently my printer needs to be warmed up too before being able to print. (I'm still waiting for that one. It's been warming up for a month!)

And people need to warm up too before an activity—any activity—and you'll notice that they all have a specific way of doing it.

Most people hop on a treadmill for 5 or 10 minutes. Or they'll do a few shoulder rotations before jumping on a loaded bench press. My all-time favorite are those who sit in a steam room in order to "warm up." I'm not kidding!

But what a warm-up really should do is prepare your body for the workout you are about to do by increasing blood flow to the muscles and to decrease chances of injuries. And the best way to do this is to move your body in different directions and planes by involving all major muscle groups.

7 drills, 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Here are seven warm-up drills you can do anywhere that will prepare your body for any type of workout. They don't require any equipment, and they are a lot more fun than walking on a treadmill.

Repeat each drill for 20 seconds, for a total of 2 minutes and 20 seconds without any stops.

Ready? Let's warm up.

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Side-to-Side Hops

As the name says, hop from side to side so that only one leg is on the floor at a time. It will open up your hips and get your balance right from the beginning. Repeat it for 20 seconds.

Explosive Squats

Squat down (not too low, since you are not completely warmed up yet) and jump in the air. Land again in a squat position before repeating. This one will get your heart rate going because you are involving so many lower-body muscles, which is what you want to do. Repeat for 20 seconds.

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High Knees

Bring your knees up to your chest one at a time. This will open up your glutes. There's no need to go very fast or too high. This is just a warm-up, remember? Repeat for 20 seconds.

Heel Kicks

Now we are going to warm up the hamstrings. Kick your own butt with your heels. It will stretch your quadriceps (the front of your legs) and will activate those hamstrings in the back—you get two for the price of one. Repeat for 20 seconds.

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Booty Shapers

I came up with that name. You like it? Start with a squat facing forward. Now, explode up from the squat and turn your body to the right before springing back to the center for another squat. Repeat this on the left.

This one will not only get your booty, but it will also activate your core. This is a great drill, and I even use it as a stand-alone exercise. Repeat for 20 seconds.

Ski Side-to-Side

Welcome to the French Alps. Put your feet together. Now jump those legs side to side as if there was a rope around them. It will activate those obliques. This is a great drill and so much fun. Don't forget your ski poles! Repeat for 20 seconds.

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Ski Front-to-Back

This is similar to the previous drill: You still have a rope around your legs. Now instead of going side to side, you will go front and back. Now, my friends, we are activating the core muscles. Repeat for 20 seconds.

There you have it: seven athletic-inspired drills for a total of 2 minutes and 20 seconds. So next time you find yourself at the gym, ditch the treadmill and try this quick and simple starter workout. And please, no steam-room warm-ups, OK?

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