Training Foreplay

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On Warm Ups and Why You Need to Stop Skipping Them

A good number of people reading my blog are guilty of a number of things—certain “crimes” if you will—and I am no different.

Like many of you, I fall victim to various…mistakes, shall we say.  And for no other reason than this:

“Seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Yeah, I know.  We all do it.  Here are a few of the BIG ones.

  • Keeping Bad Food Around.  Awful idea.  Most of us lie and say it’s for other people, or for company, but we like it just to tempt ourselves.  Buying chips or cookies seems like a good idea while you’re shopping, but when you cave in devour an entire bag of Swedish fish…well, you have no one to blame but yourself. Anyway, don’t keep them around. Best case, you stare longingly at the treats that you can’t eat. Worst case, you cave and feel intense regret the next morning. And speaking of morning-after regret, here’s another bad idea that seemed good at the time.
  • Drunk Texting Your Ex-Girlfriend/Boyfriend.  Come on, guys, you know better. Please trust me when I say that there is no positive outcome here. At worst, you get ignored and feel bad about yourself. At best, you end up in bed together, have questionable sex, and then have to suffer through the unenviable awkward “what does this mean?” conversation. Seems smart, but it’s dumb. Not that I’d know anything about this, but I heard from this guy I know.
  • Being Sarcastic With Your Doctor.  Once, when I was at new doc for my first ever check-up, she decided to grill me on my sexual history. I understand it’s part of her job, but it’s part of MY job to be a smart ass. When she asked how many partners I had, I looked at her and in the most sincere voice I could, asked, “like…today? Or the whole week?” I was quite amused. She was not. Next thing I know, she’s drawing half a dozen vials of blood so she could run, “what is obviously a very necessary full STD panel.” Two weeks later I had a new doctor (and no STDs, just so you know).  Oops.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

All joking aside, today I want to talk about training, and about one of these “seemed like a good idea at the time” crimes.

The most common, in fact. And that my friends, is skipping the warm up.

Don’t bother lying to me; I know you’ve done it.  It’s natural.  You’re in a rush…you’re, like, really busy.  Or you’re just too excited and want to get to the training session.  I get it. Blah blah blah.

We all make the same excuses—and we all need to stop.

But let me put it to you in terms that you’ll appreciate (or at least make it more fun)—SEX; all joking aside I honestly believe that there is an intrinsic and undeniable relationship between fitness and sex.

That’s a topic for another post, though. 

So, yeah. I have no idea where all of that came from, other than the fact that I like to talk about sex.  Which brings me back to my point—

If workout out is like sex, then warming up is foreplay.

Yes, you CAN skip it and have a reasonably good session, but as ALL good lovers know, getting the equipment ready for use just leads to a better experience.  If you skip foreplay ALL the time, chances are your love life will take a hit and your lover may walk out on you.

Well, skipping the warm-up may SEEM like a good idea, but if you do it enough, your relationship with your body will break down; you’ll save time, sure, but at the expense of not getting the results you want AND being more injury prone?

I don’t need to take my metaphor much further than that, but suffice it to say that your workouts will be better, more enjoyable, more productive and SAFER if you do your warm up.


Logic Dictates: We should begin at the beginning.

Here are some of the benefits, broken up into a few categories:

PHYSIOLOGICALLY – Getting your body warm is the purpose of the warm up, ostensibly.  But really, it’s a by-product of everything else.  Raising your core temperature is all well and good, but a good warm-up isn’t just intended to get you hot and sweaty. It’s intended to prepare you for what’s to come—which is why your warm-up should look somewhat like your training session (more on that below).

Going back to sex, foreplay is good for this, as well—and in fact, getting hot and sweaty is one of the goals.  Mainly, because it makes sex more awesome.

HORMONALLY – Warming up has benefits here, as well.  A warm-up begins to release IGF-1, Growth Hormone, Testosterone—all of the hormones we want circulating to held fight off area-specific fat.  However, a good warm up (mental as well as physical) will help “set the mood” in the body. When physical activity is involved, you want to create a bit of that “fight or flight” sensation—your body should be ready to fight (NOTE – the Rocky soundtrack helps, here).

Warming up both mentally and physically begins to increase a hormone we HAVEN’T talked about yet: adrenaline. Suffice it to say, when adrenaline is pumping, you’re going to have a MUCH better workout. Relating this to sex, foreplay increases all of the necessary hormones and leads to a greater release of endorphins upon completion, allowing for a more satisfying experience.

JOINT HEALTH – Warm-up is all about getting your body ready for the workout to come; in large part, that means preparing your joints and connective tissue. A good warm-up will start to get these “loose” and lubricated. As any experienced lover trainer can tell you, getting some blood into the area is really important for sex warming up. Especially if you want to avoid developing injuries. If you want to get through life without developing tendonitis, STOP skipping your warm up.

Now, as I said earlier, your warm-up should be in line with your training.

When power lifters have entire days dedicated to training the bench press movement, guess how they warm up? Yup; by bench pressing. Makes sense, right?

Well, most people are interested in fat loss, and most fat loss training involves full body program based around fast-paced circuits. So, how do you think you should warm-up?

If you said “fast-paced, full-body circuits” then you just won a high five!


Of course, I am going to give you a full warm-up.

But before I do…I just want to clear something up: when I say your warm-up should resemble your training session, you can use that a general guideline—it doesn’t need to be incredibly exacting. For example, a density workout doesn’t require a density based warm up; a lactic acid training session doesn’t require lactic acid based warm up.

As long as a warm-up is well written, it will serve it’s purpose for most workouts. That said, the more in depth something is, the better. (More on that below.)

Okay enough pre-amble.  Here it is.

BASIC Foreplay Warm Up

  1. Jump Squat – 8-10 reps
  2. Seal Jacks – 15 reps
  3. Prisoner Squat – 10 reps
  4. Push-up with 2 second Hold at the bottom – 6 reps
  5. Leg Swing – 20 reps per side
  6. Stick-ups (against wall) – 10 reps
  7. No Money’s – 10 reps  (can be done with or without band)
  8. Psoas Stretch – 20 second hold per side

Now, SOME of these exercises may be unfamiliar to you, so here is a quick rundown of those which I think need it.



A seal jack is very much like a jumping jack, only your arms come in front and across your chest, instead of over your head. As mentioned above, perform these for 8-10 reps.


These were invented by Navy SEALS…or so named because you look like an actual seal clapping. Either way, a good exercise. 


Brace yourself against a wall or chair, and swing one leg back and forth across your body.


Yes, swing your leg back and forth. You’ve done a ‘leg swing.’ Very creative name, I know. 


  • Stand with your back to the wall and feet about 4 inches from the wall.
  • Place the back of your arms against the wall with upper arms parallel to floor and forearms at 90 degrees.
  • Stick up your arms overhead while keeping your arm against the wall at all times.
  • Slowly return to below the starting position tucking your elbows into your sides and bringing shoulder blades together.



  • With a bench or chair behind you, elevate one foot onto it, placing your knee on the ground. (If you have a hard floor, use some padding for the knee.)
  • Place your other leg in front of you, bent to 90 degrees.
  • Keeping your spine straight, hold the stretch and occasionally “rock” forward, allowing a good stretch in your hip flexors.
  • Repeat for other leg.

tony Oh, snap, Tony G cameo!


This is almost impossible to describe, so here’s a video to make it easier on both of us.



Next Steps

This warm-up, while pretty basic, is good enough to get you prepped for most fat loss workouts. It’s quick, it’s effective, and it hits all of your major muscle groups–and joints!

So, to integrate this into your current training, simply perform this warm-up circuit before you begin any workout, and you’ll be on your way to better, safer, more productive training sessions (and sex).

Now, again–while the above warm-up will definitely get the job done, as they say, it’s pretty basic. Good in a pinch, but not high-level, by any means. If you are in perfect health and have no joint issues it’s great. But, if you’re a bit beat up, I would recommend something a bit more in depth.

If you’ve ever had an injury of any kind, you definitely understand that you’re never exactly “as you were” before it; to this day, I’m always a bit more cautious with squats, despite the fact that my knee surgery was 7 years ago.  And the extra attention–during my sets, and especially during my warm-ups, has made all the difference, and is the primary reason I haven’t been injured again.

For those who have never suffered an injury–whether it’s something as serious as a tear or as simple as a tweak–I can assure you that it will affect your training for weeks at the minimum. It’s a bad situation to be in.

When you think about the fact that most of these issues can be avoided to begin with (or ameliorated once they’ve occurred) simply by spending a few minutes warming up, it seems insane not to put your best foot forward in that regard.

How many minutes, you ask? How about SIX minutes? Seriously!

My bro Dan Go has a program that will help you get ALL the benefits of warming up, and the absolute minimum amount of time possible–just six minutes.

Appropriately, it’s called 6 Minute Superhuman; and it is exactly that: a program full of amazing warm-ups that will make you absolutely bulletproof in just 6 minutes.


If you’re looking for the perfect addition to your current workout plan–or any plan you may do in the future, 6MS is absolutely the way to go. Keep in mind, in just six minutes, you can make any–and every–workout you EVER do safe, more productive, and more effective.

One thing to consider: if you’re doing the program from Engineering the Alpha, you may have noticed that there’s no warm-up in it. Sadly, we had to cut it based on length of the book. So, if you’re doing that program, you should absolutely check out 6 Minute Superhuman immediately. You’ll love it.

Okay, time to fess up!

How many of you are guilty of skipping the warm up?  Or, if you DO warm up, post the warm up below!  At least 80 COMMENTS and I’ll be back tomorrow with another awesome post on the SPECIFICS of how to warm-up! 

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

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  • James

    I used to warm up… but when I started the ETA program I was so glued on the work out in the book I didn’t think about it. Certainly will again now.

  • If No Bch

    awesome post roman! My warm ups are classified into two types, upper body and lower body – depending on my workout, i’ll do one or the other, or both! The ones I use right now are both from Joe DeFranko – Agile 8 (lower body) and his upper body warm up

  • Zahraa

    I always skip it cuz I just wanna get the workout over with and don’t think it burns much calories.

  • Rhoover33

    Awesome timing!  I’ve been following FLF for a month and a half.  Good results, love the workouts.  I’ve always known I should be doing a warm up, but as you said, who has the time?  Will try to incorporate.  Great & timely post!  Ryan

  • Annettetorres40

    Guilty…….I would hit and miss but now I am accountable for what I just read.
    Thank you!

  • Greg

    I almost always perform a warm up, but usually limited to approx 10 minutes total of 1 minute on/off HIIT on an elliptical. I've felt that that gets the blood flowing pretty well. Any suggestions, comments, or criticisms?

  • If Ninjas agree with me, it must be true ;)

  • Excellent! I'll be doing some more stuff on stretching so stay tuned for that.

  • You're welcome; and thank you for the comment and compliment!

  • More and more I think warm ups should be longer and workouts shorter. Sounds like your trainer is doing a good job =)

  • I see what you did there. Clever girl.

  • Light stretching isn't an issue, it's overstretching that is the problem. If you're holding each static stretch for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, that's a bit much for pre-workout.

  • Huge arms are the icing on the proverbial cake. I appreciate the kind words, man, and I'm just happy to help.

  • Looks pretty much awesome to me!

  • Aaron T

    My warmup consists of:

    Light static stretching from

    Then some mobility work around the area I'm training (eg. leg swings on squat day)

    Then dynamic work to get the blood flowing

    Finally warmup sets of my first exercise.

  • Roman, you, Tim Ferris and Mike Geary are responsible for making me sound like I know what I am talking about.

    I dont want to be a massive guy, I want to be a young 60 year old and a strong 30 year old… stretching, warming up and your routines have helped me reverse long time injuries and get a stronger core.

    P.S. I also have huge arms.

  • Damn right! You and me both!

  • Sounds like both are being done incorrectly ;)

  • Hey man,

    Thanks so much. I really appreciate that.

  • Hi Ricky,

    Good question. Really, anything that I recommended can be modified. Slow squats or ball squats (against a wall) instead of jump squats for example

  • I'm not sure if that's the same thing, but I'll take it. 75 KB swings is intense, btw! Nice =)

  • Well, I often to listen to podcasts or book on mp3 while I warm up, then switch the my pandora app when I'm in my actual workout.

    If that helps!

  • If you have to pick one, it's the warm up.

    I'd like to see you add some foam rolling, though.

  • You need to. Your body will thank you.

  • Bad idea!

    Honestly, at this point, I feel like a few of us in the industry would rather have a long warm up and cut the workout short, than deal with the ramifications of clipping the warm up for a longer workout.

  • Thanks Matt =)

  • Pavel said that? That seems odd. Well, I disagree in any case, and I'm glad to hear you're on board!

  • Not too bad, but I'd like to see some more hip flexor stuff in there!

  • Because she was lame. There are a lot of incredible doctors in NY, and I'd rather put my care in the hands of someone I “click” with. A little humor goes a long way =)

  • Bogdan


    Just rushed through my warm-up training yesterday.

  • Brian

    I usually warm up by jogging in place, jumping jacks, 1-2-3 heisman, and burpees. I usually do each for 30 secs and repeat 3-4 times.

  • Stacey Diehl

    And you ditched your doctor because…

  • friday

    Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately, I rarely get past the warm ups. :-)

    Also I've read that stretching before working out can tear muscle and ligament. How should I warm up and avoid injury?

  • Eliran

    Very nice post, interesting information.

    I alway skip warm ups, must consider add them.

  • Chad

    I think it was Pavel Satsouline who once told a friend of mine ” Warming up is for Pussies” in a strong Russian accent, but thats Ok cuz my momma also told me you are what you eat son. So i guess im warmin up ! Momma knows best . Thanks Roman

  • Marilyn

    I always warm up. I don't always cool down and/or stretch.

  • Jorma

    I'm certainly guilty and as time ticks on and the body ages I wish that I was wiser about it earlier. This is a great post and I'll use it as a reminder to do my WHOLE work out, at least most times, and not skip strait to “what I came for”.

    I also really appreciate how you routinely include a sample of immediately applicable material. I'll try your Roman Approve warm up next time I head to the weights.

    Thanks as always for some really great data.

  • this one is gold

  • I've lived & learned, & now I always warm play…wait…. fore up, no…what the….! OK,focus here! Give me a lil' bit, I'll be back in an hour or so.

  • Thank you for the inspiring post

  • leah

    Guilty – esp if I am doing weights alone – when I do my BootCamp classes then the warm up and cool downs are included by the trainer! Always feel the warm up takes too long, have to change that.

  • tara

    75 kettlebell swings

    by the way, a lion does limber up before chasing a gazelle, it's called stalking.

  • Evy

    The trainer that leads our group sessions never skips warm up or cool down even if it means the session runs a little over. The warm-ups are very similar to the one you listed although substitutions and variety keep it interesting. Both warm-ups and cool-downs vary with the circuits (which are constantly changed so the body doesn't adjust).

    “Your warm-up is part of your workout…” I hear that so often that my brain automatically replays it as soon as I walk into the facility.

  • Ricky

    Wow if I could perform your suggested warm-up I'd be really happy.

    Like Jean Armstrong I would be interested in leg exercises for people carrying way too much body fat, with dodgy arthritic/permanent damage knees – and ankles, and hips – so 'low impact' exercises only.

    And are there some exercises you suggest as 'starter-trainer substitutes' for those who are so obese and unfit that they cannot perform a lunge or pushup?

    EG My centre of gravity is so wide that unless I hold onto a desk or table or something for balance I cannot do even a 1/4-down lunge without falling over.

  • Blaz

    Great blog man, gave me a good chuckle at the part with the doctor. That is a hell of a warm-up by the way, is it really necessary to have that many reps on some exercises??

  • Hey Roman I just wanted to express my gratitude for all the info you give out man. I love reading your stuff. Your articles are super entertaining while still being informative. Just wanted to let you know, you do an awesome job. I'd say “Keep it up!” but that's so cliche, and it sounds like a command to me so…thanks for all the great stuff!

  • Elaine

    I love your warm up – especially the jump squats. Just finished my 6th week of your final phase fat loss. I am a 55 year old female and there have been a lot of changes in my body since I started. Celebrating our 33 anniversary today and my husband is very pleased as am I with the changes. Thanks Roman. Great program!

  • Chuck

    It would be nice to figure out a way to warm up while doing computer stuff, reading, or some such thing.

  • If you're doing a squat warm up, some squats are fine. No need to do this specific type of warm up unless you're going to be doing workouts like mine =)

  • Most people just need more hip movement. If I thought anyone would do it, I'd have put 30 per leg =)

  • Just because you drop quotes from Zombieland doesn't mean you're right ;)

    I haven't seen a lion limber up before taking down a gazelle. But I've seen one limber up before sex.

    For what that's worth.

  • Tara

    Hey Roman…I always run before lifting. Like 40 mins, steady 6.5, or mix it up toward the end and do HIIT sprints. Then I'm ready to do some weights. If it's leg day I'll go a little easier on the running. :)

  • Tracy

    I agree with Roman, I have been a Martial-Artist for years and if you don't stretch before you train you take the chance of something tearing or pull etc.

  • Jay

    I do warm-ups religiously and have find out that when I don't feel like working out and tired, by the time I do the warm-up I am feeling ready to do my workout.

    I do this exact warm-up and it is great. I like the stretch and the jump. They really help to get my legs ready for the squats and the jump squats get me all pump up.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Reka

    I'm so guilty of skipping proper warmup, I always think walking to the gym will do it. Talking about injury proofing, is it safer to do squats than lunges with a knee problem? I was born with an issue which resulted in surgeries when I was small, and I heard that lunges are harder on the knees than squats. I also have to avoid high impact things as running or jumping, and my knee often hurts after squats :( Bad for fat loss.

    Oh, and for the doctor part: the STD panel is a good thing to do from time to time, especially if it comes free:). In my country doctors are very reluctant to test anyone just because they are asking, practically they only do tests when people are surely sick. They don't care much about prevention.

    Anyway, thanks for the post! I Love your blog!

  • Beth

    Guilty. Warmup bores me. Fortunately, foreplay does not. Usually. : /


  • Tanya

    Not anymore, religiously warm up these days.

  • Jared

    Have you ever seen a lion limber up before taking down a gazelle?

  • Josh

    My warm-ups are not so much based on specific exercises that I perform before each workout, but designed to warm up the specific muscle groups that are part of that days workout.

    There are plenty of exercises and stretches that you can use to warm up any part of the body, and as long as you can track performance over time its just a matter of knowing which match up best with the exercises you are about to perform today, etc.

    I also aim to get the joints warmed up for the range of motion I will be going through that day, and get core temp up while increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles to prime them for the workload ahead.

    This also increases the amount of fat released and used for energy, resulting in less food cravings after the workout and more calories “burned” overall.

    There you go, a mini blog post ;-)

  • Ryne

    Guilty. But I'm young haha. Good advice roman

  • Guilty. Though I always stretch for a minute or two, I have often skipped warming up for time.

    However, for a warm-up, my favorite routine is to do 50 reps with either light weight or bodyweight of all the exercises I'm going to perform during my training session. I do them straight through without resting between each. This gets my heart rate up, my breath working full on, and the sweat going, but doesn't overtax me for what's upcoming.

  • david

    Yep. Guilty as charged. Limited to no warm up for decades. Like you said, “Seemed like a good idea at the time.” Started training the wife about a year ago and … warmups became routine. Start with a couple minutes of rope jumping to elevate the heart rate. The rounds of jumping/split jacks and burpees/mountain climbers. After that, any extra mobility we think we need and down to business.

  • W-

    I'm completely guilty of skipping warm-up's and stretching, unless I'm sleepy and not quite ready to get moving (I usually do 5 AM workouts).

    Question: if you're working out in the afternoon and have an active job, or have walked or jogged to the gym, is a warm up necessary?


    And Roman, as I'm sure you know, there are times when there is great satisfaction in just getting on with the main event . . ! ;)

  • C

    I like skipping warm ups. And foreplays… But – am happy to try something new :)

  • Kara

    I always take my client through dynamic warm ups. However, with my own workouts some times I get so excited about what I am about to do that I just hop in. A few weeks ago I paid for it. i started slinging around some heavy weights and pulled a muscle in my back. SO STUPID. I know better. Haven't skipped them since though.

    BTW, bought some Skyr the other day on your recommendation. Pretty tasty!

  • Deni

    So….I can steal your high-five? It's awesome!

  • Jean Armstrong

    I am not young anymore, I'm 73 and because I have had two knee replacements and have osteoarthritis there are several warm ups that I can't do. I no longer can get down on the floor or bend my knees as much as I would like to do. I have been noticing that most of your ideas and others, not just you, are more for young people. Could you give some ideas for older people? I do use the swimex three times a week for one hour each time and then work out in the fitness center. Do you think that the exercises I do in the water would be considered as a warm up? I am way overweight and I am very worried about the extra pounds that I'm carrying, especially belly fat. Any help would be appreciated. Jean

  • Tim

    Good post Roman,

    I agree, Drs have no sense of humor. Also, the internet High 5 is brilliant.

  • Andreas

    Most of the time I warm up with running and some joint mobility that breaks me in sweat

  • Tina

    Oops busted! Now I know why I feel like I've been beaten up the next day…..or 2….okay maybe 3. Note to self……warm ups a MUST!

    Especially if it provides same benefits as foreay ;-)

  • jussa

    Never skip warm-up as I find it helps my mind and body cooperate as they should. I can't say I enjoy it, I got used to it and can't imagine starting my workout without prepering myself.

    As for drunk texting ex-girlfriends/boyfriends and ending up in bed together being 'better' outcome, I would be more then happy to skip drunken lousy sex with an ex and watch Mars attacks instesd.

    Wonder where the name for No- money exercise comes from?

  • michael kerley

    yeah im fucker for this, also foreplay in the title got my excited, i see what you did roman!

    cool blog thought imma start warming up.

  • Risto

    What's the reason for those numbers for all those exercises? Why are there 20 reps for leg swings, not 15 for instance?

  • Tony Roe

    I'm guilty – I've skipped warm-ups quite a few times.

    However, for the past couple months I've been making it a point to warm-up before lifting.

    I do a full body foam rolling routine (i.e., Show & Go) and do some mobility drills that pertain to the lifting I'm about to experience.

    Lower-body dominant workouts get things such as split-stance adductor mobilizations, wall hip flexor mobilizations, squat-to-stands, etc.

    Upper-body dominant workouts get things such as stick-ups, dynamic blackburns (thanks to Nate Green there), broomstick dislocations and scapular pushups.

    Nice (and strangely familiar :P) post, Roman!

  • Irma

    I ALWAYS warm up before sex…I mean…before working out!

  • The warm-up is essential to my workout now. I can't believe when I was younger that I would just throw on a couple plates and go to town. No wonder I was so locked up.

  • Rick

    My warm-ups are:

    Sampson stretch






    if I do any :)

    then a little soft music and candles….

  • Alexander Ivanov

    I usually Run for about 10 – 12 minutes at 6 mph before I go to do my circuit… By the time I finish running I usually break a sweat… Wor'ks for me

    Will try to do light circuit instead of running today.

  • Binita

    Sorry Roman, Hands up! I confess! I've been skipping your warm up on the Final Fat Loss program because it's so exciting and I eagerly want to get into it, and what's happened? I've pulled a muscle! I've learnt my lesson. Training foreplay everytime from now on! You rock!


  • D Money

    Great post. Now that I think about it I probably only warm up about 20 percent of the time I lift. Apart from joint health, how much do you think this may be hurting my gains, strength-wise? Thanks boss!!

  • Ty

    My warm-ups are typically the same exercise just with much less weight, stretching anything that feels tight, but it seems it's more of a work-up than a warm-up…

  • Ty

    I'm much more likely to do something called “training foreplay” than a “warm-up,” and for that, I thank you.

  • Ruben

    I admit, I don't warm-up like this. But when I squat I first do squats without weight, when I bench press I just do it with an empty barbell.

    Mostly I just pick a light weight and do one set but not always..

  • N

    I never ever skip warm-up, probably because I quite enjoy it. I do sometimes skip stretching, though (especially if I'm in a hurry), which is a shame because I LOVE stretching. Would that be the equivalent of falling asleep right after sex? LOL

  • Glenn McBeth

    Warm-ups are a must, especially once you get on in years! 42 can feel like 82 very easily when you work out hard, and warm-ups help prevent that.

    Just as important is the warm-down/stretch for how you feel the next day. I walk for 10 minutes then spend 15-20 mins post-workout doing static stretching. Honestly, I doubt I could move if i didn't.

  • Sarah

    Yeah, I'm a bad girl