Most people neglect the importance of a proper and extensive warm up, the old "get on a cross trainer for 5 minutes before the session" (I've been guilty of this myself) is what I see most people doing (some of you don't even do that). Flexibility is of absolute importance when you're talking about health and well being, it's what keeps you capable of training for long periods of time, comfortably and without injury. Most of my clients (indeed most people at CBD) are office workers, which means you sit, in the same position, all day. This puts unbelievable amounts of tension on your low back, thoracic spine and cervical spine, it also creates weakness in the glutes (your butt), shortness of the hip flexors and dysfunction in the abdominals.
As babies we're all born with perfect range of motion, if you want to see perfect motion watch a baby pick something up, it does a perfect deadlift. We all posses certain ingrained "movement patterns", such as the squat, lunge, deadlift, pushup and core rotating patterns. As we grow and develop, we reduce the efficiency of these patterns by reducing our range of motion, creating weakness in certain tendons and muscles, many of you suffer from what is commonly called "glute death". The gluteals are the strongest muscles in your body, due to sitting down all day you have lost the neural pathways (coupled with tight hip flexors) to activate and therefore use your glutes. Keeping tendons and the fascia around the muscle (after all you can't really stretch a muscle as it has something like 300% extensibility over the fascia that surrounds it) loose help to reduce the likelihood of tears, ruptures, overuse pains and weakness.
SO, the question is; how can you incorporate stretching into your pre workout routine? Easily! You can break full body stretching into a lower body/upper body split. On say Monday, you stretch your lower body and on Tuesday your upper etc. I'll include a list of stretches below that you can incorporate. Make sure you foam roll you lower body before you stretch your lower body and the same for upper. We haven't talked about mobility work yet, which should be a small part of your warm up, but for now I want you guys to start incorporating everything in the foam roll and this blog, and to those who don't think they need to do it I say "you do have to do it" not poignant I know, but true nonetheless. You want to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds, for problem areas I would recommend a minute hold and even doing repeat stretches. You want to hold a stretch to the point that basically you have to pull a face, but not to the point where you're in unbearable, intolerable pain.
Lower body stretches:
Glute Stretch: To make this stretch hurt more, try leaning forward.