What is a warm-up? It is an essential part of your workout, so don't skip it! Your warm-up should serve the following fuctions: Move through your joints.  Move through the full range of motion of every joint in your body paying particular attention to the joints that you use for your activity (if you are a dancer or aerialist that means all of them). This is not stretching, it is just moving and breaking up the stiffness that accumulates when we sleep or sit around. Get the body warm, of course.

  Active flexibility is the range of motion that you can achieve by using your muscles to put your joint there (i.e., if you use your shoulder muscles to pull your arm back behind your ear as far as you can).  You’ve probably heard us mention active flexibility before—we kind of won’t shut up about it. It is normal to have greater passive flexibility than active flexibility, but the greater the gap between these two ranges of motion, the more unstable your joint (passive flexibility is the range of motion you can achieve by having some external force move your

  Chronically tight, overused muscles cause their opposing muscles to become weak and atrophied. This imbalance spreads through the entire body as muscles compensate for each other, and long term pain and joint degeneration can result. There are three very common muscle syndrome patterns identified by rehabilitation specialist Dr. Vladimir Janda: Lower-crossed syndrome occurs when tight hip flexors and lower back result in weak abdominal muscles and gluteals. People like this tend to have an exaggerated arch in their lower back and lower back pain. Upper-crossed syndrome occurs when tight chest, shoulder, and neck muscles result in

  Back warmers don’t create heat, they are just simple tubes of warm, cozy material that keep your body heat in and your muscles warm. They are used by contortionists the world over in training and warm ups. Fun fact: Your muscles are happiest stretching at 1-2 degrees above your normal body temperature. This is particularly important for the small, delicate muscles of the lower back, which are prone to tightness, bruising, cramping and possible injury when engaging in deep backbends (or even little backbends if your back is just getting used to that

  One of the most important tools in maintaining your body's joints and increasing flexibility is a good supply of Omega Fatty Acids. I recommend either a *high quality* fish oil or, if you are vegetarian or otherwise fish-averse, a high quality flax seed oil. Quality makes a big difference, especially with the fish oils. You want to consider the source, quality, freshness, potency, and purity of the oil and check to see if it is from a sustainable fishery. Here is an article with more information than you ever thought you wanted to know on fish