Looking for a low-impact warm-up or cool-down that you can do at home or at the gym? The low-impact “Morning Glory” series can be done just about anywhere, without the use of weights or props (optional), and consists of two sets of three workouts, each about 30 to 60 seconds, with three to four rotations through both sets for maximum impact.
Coach Dan takes us through the first and second set of exercises in the video below.
You can always step up the intensity of this first set of three exercises with a pair of 5 pound weights (not advised to use heavier weight); however, the overall goal is to keep things light and focused on recovery, while still recruiting as many muscle sets as possible. Below are some key pointers for getting the most out of each exercise.
- Overhead cross touch with squat: Watch your form and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Ideally you’ll touch your feet when you come down in the squat, but touching knees is a good modification to counter tightness or injury.
- Side to side squats with overhead press: Ideally, you’ll want to go into a full squat with your legs even to ground, but you can modify the squat to 45 degrees if necessary. Try adding no more than 5 pounds for a more challenging overhead press.
- Seal jack with high knees: Be careful not to overextend your arms in this exercise; keep controlled movement as you send your arms back and your knee up). You can do full seal jacks on the second rotation if you want to step up the intensity.
The second set of metabolic exercises are also low impact, but can be altered to be more challenging or modified to be easier. The following are ideal to do on a softer surface such as carpet or on a yoga or gym mat:
- Cannon balls on back: When on back, be careful not to thrust your body forward into a cannon ball; control your movement by bringing your elbows to knees. You can challenge yourself by not letting your head or heels hit the mat, a good option for those with a strong core. If you have existing lower back pain or are new to abdominal workouts, you’ll likely want to skip this modification.
- Heel kicks, knee raises, and hip rotations: This exercise is done on all 4s but can be modified and done on your feet, with the support of a bannister or something similar. The goal here is to loosen up our hips and gain range of motion. If you’re standing, try and bring your knee up as high as possible with controlled movements (again, avoid forceful thrusting).
- Shoulder and arm raises: The shoulder and arm raises are also done on all 4s; be careful not to turning your shoulder as you raise, but to keep your hips and chest facing towards the ground. This exercises include 3 consecutive variations: first, arms up and forward, then diagonal, then out to the side in an I, Y, and then T formation (alternate between sides as follows: I, I, Y, Y, T, T). Again, you can modify this one on your feet, adding a squat between each set of I, Y, T. If you’re up for a challenge, try integrating 5 pound weights.
Going through these exercises in sequence for at least 6 minutes, 30 seconds at a clip (with optional 20 second breaks) is a great way to start or end your workout. The “Morning Glory” series can also be done as a quick, stand-alone workout at any time to strengthen core muscles and increase range of motion.