One of the biggest mistakes people make when lifting weights is skipping the pre-workout warm-up, says Instagram star and certified fitness trainer Massy Arias. If you’re guilty of taking this shortcut, you might want to think that over: It takes a negligible amount of time to warm up the muscles, but doing so increases your mobility and reduces your risk of injury. And it actually feels pretty good.
So before you even think about lifting a single pound, get moving with the simple upper-body moves that Massy swears by. (Try each for up to 30 seconds or until your muscles feel warm.)
1. Arm Circles Forward
Stand up straight with your feet hips-width apart and your toes facing forward. With a slight bend in your elbows, bring both arms back behind you, then circle them up, overhead, and back down along your sides. Continue to circle forward.
2. Arm Circles Backward
Stand up straight with your feet hips-width apart and your toes facing forward. With a slight bend in your elbows, bring both arms straight up in front of you, then circle them up, overhead, and behind you before bringing them back down along your sides. Continue to circle backward.
3. Goal Post Palms
Stand up straight with your feet hips-width apart and your toes facing forward. Hold your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height, and bend both elbows 90 degrees with your fingers outstretched and palms facing forward. Without dropping the elbows, lower your forearms until your palms face the floor. Then return to starting position and repeat.
4. Shoulder Openers
Now, and only now, you’re ready to get weights involved. (It’s still a warm-up, not an exercise.) Grab one uber-light dumbbell (5 pounds or less) in each hand. Next, bend both elbows 90 degrees and turn your palms face up with your forearms parallel to each other. Keeping the elbows close to the body, open the weights out to the sides as far as you can. Then bring the weights back to starting position, and continue to open and close.