Everything you know about stretching is wrong. According to research, static (standing still) stretching before a workout actually makes you weaker and more prone to injury. “Doing it just before exercising is potentially worse than starting cold,” says David "Dave T." Tebidor, director of Velocity Sports Performance in N.Y.C., who trains pro athletes. Static drills elongate muscles but don't prep them for the intense contracting that occurs in a workout or competition. “To get them ready—and to get the most out of your gym session—you need to get blood flowing and work on range of motion. Still stretch, but only on off days.” Here’s Tebidor’s pre-workout routine.
THERE AND BACKS
Run 25 yards, reaching near-sprint speed. Return running backward. Do two sets to open warmup, then two sets to close it.
Focus on: Posture, slowly increasing speed, swinging arms, not wiping out while running backward.
LONG ARM SWINGS
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and swing arms up and down in the air, like you just don’t care. Somebody say, "Ho, I feel stupid!"
Focus on: Shoulders, neck, extending your spine.
Saddest back pats ever: Swing arms quickly in front, wrapping them around your back.
Focus on: Opening up your chest, shoulders, and midback; loving yourself.
Lie flat on your beer belly, arms extended. Swing right leg over body toward left hand. Toe-tap, then swing leg back. Repeat with left leg. Protect ya neck: Keep your mug close to the ground and face opposite direction of foot.
Focus on: Opening hips and hammies.
High knee skips with opposite arm swings. Go 25 yards. Turn; skip back to start. Be sure to yell, “Whee-e-e-e-e” while skipping.
Focus on: Posture, extending your lower back. Do not focus on the giggling gym rats.
These are sideways, alternate-foot crossover runs. Do them for about 25 yards with arms extended. Then come back facing same direction. Do two sets.
Focus on: Working your hip rotation; opening up your chest, shoulders, and upper back.
Get on hands and knees, facing floor. Keeping knee bent, lift up one leg like you’re peeing on a hydrant, dog boy. Do 10 on each leg.
Focus on: Opening up hips and lower back, marking your territory.
HIGH KNEE HUGS
Walk 25 yards, and with each step pause, lift leg, and grab knee, pulling into chest. Extend planted foot up (on toe), knee hugger.
Focus on: Elongating your spine, working lower back, maintaining balance through posture.
STRAIGHT LEG MARCH
March 25 yards. For each step, extend arm straight out and swing your same-side leg up, trying to touch toe. Keep arms and legs straight, cheater.
Focus on: Your hammies, keeping spine straight, not looking like a Nazi.