The One Exercise Everyone Should Do Before Lifting Weights

Even if you're consistent in the gym, chances are you spend a big chunk of your day hunched over a computer at work. The result of that sedentary lifestyle is shortened and flexed hips, rounded back, inwardly rotated shoulders and limited action from your glutes and core. All of this can increase your injury risk when you step into the weight room and lessen the effectiveness of your workout.

Before you lift those weights, do this one exercise first!
Credit: Adobe Stock/UBER IMAGES

Enter the thoracic bridge with reach, an all-in-one mobility drill and stretch. This drill — which is a modified version of one developed by California-based strength coach Max Shank — opens up your hips, extends your spine, stretches and rotates your shoulders, expands your chest and activates your glutes and core.

"It really is the opposite of sitting at a desk," says Jennifer Blake, strength coach at The Movement Minneapolis.

Incorporating the thoracic bridge with reach into your warm-up is an effective way to prep your body for whatever other exercises you have planned. It loosens joints and helps you maintain better posture, preventing shoulder injuries during overhead exercises like the shoulder press.

"It fires up key muscles used in big lifts like squats and deadlifts, which, when paired with good technique, help make the lifts safer and more effective," says Blake.

This exercise is the exact opposite of sitting all day long.
Credit: Jen Sinkler's YouTube Channel

How to Do the Thoracic Bridge With Reach

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, heels close to the body and calves almost touching your hamstrings. Plant one palm on the floor directly behind your butt, fingertips facing away from you. Elevate your other hand in front of you.

Keeping your weight evenly distributed between both feet and your planted hand, press away from the floor until your hips are extended as much as possible without arching your lower back. At the top of the position, squeeze your glutes and reach across your body with your free arm.

Move from your chest to twist your upper body in the same direction. Keep your hips square and both feet planted on the floor throughout the movement. Return to the start and alternate for three to five repetitions per side.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you lift weights regularly? What does your warm-up routine look like? Have you ever done this move before? Do you think you'll try it? If you do, let us know the results! Does it make you feel more open and ready to tackle big lifts? Let us know in the comments below!

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