Even if you follow a regular fitness regimen, you may not be getting the most out of your routine. What you do directly before and after your workout can play a major role in your overall performance, as well as how your muscles react to the stress of exercising. Although they may seem like an afterthought, warm-ups and cool downs shouldn't be overlooked.

Get the most out of your workout with the perfect pre- and post-workout moves. If you're looking for a place to start, keep reading for our must-know tips:


Warm-ups are an essential part of any fitness routine because they help improve your athletic performance and prevent injuries. This practice typically consists of simple exercises that increase your heartrate and blood flow – such as jogging, Pilates or bodyweight moves like inchworms or butt kickers. Try a full-body warm-up to help prepare your entire body for any type of exercise.

Remember that warming up doesn't need to be a drawn out activity – even as little as two minutes can be effective. Don't believe us? Check out this two-minute warm-up from Bowflex Fitness Advisor Tom Holland that will get your heart pumping and your body ready to be pushed to its limits.


Once you've finished your workout, it's time for the best part: the cool down. Cool downs help your heartrate and breathing return to normal, as well as relax your muscles, prevent dizziness and curb soreness.

For cool downs, take the opposite approach as you did for warm-ups. Start by continuing your workout activity at a slower pace and gradually decrease your pace until your heartrate has slowed to a normal rate. Next, use slow movements to stretch the specific muscles you used during your workout. For example, if you just finished an intense cardio session, try these three unique post-cardio stretches.

Next time you're ready for a workout, remember to incorporate these fitness essentials into your routine. By adding a few minutes to warm up and cool down, you'll get the most out of your workout, and your body will thank you later.