Why you should start your workout with ‘muscle foreplay’

YYou are starting to breathe heavily. You are becoming aware of your body sensations. Your heart is starting to pump faster, sending a rush of blood to where you need it. You’re almost there, you’re almost ready—to work.

If this doesn’t sound like your typical exercise warm-up session, allow us to recommend a new approach to your pre-workout routine: muscle foreplay.

“It’s the same thing with sex, you actually have to do a little foreplay to get a little blood flow in your body,” says oboe instructor Walter Kemp, who coined the term while teaching a recent oboe class. “We have to bring ourselves to the moment to be warm enough mentally as well.”

So like a foreplay session while being intimate, muscle foreplay is about physically warming up your body by promoting blood flow, but it’s also about getting into the right frame of mind to inhabit and be present in our bodies.

But it’s more than just calling a warm-up “foreplay.” By changing the way we describe this important part of our exercise routine, we can change our entire mindset. It can frame exercise as a more enjoyable activity that we can do, not some major effort that we must prepare for.

“When you think about foreplay, it’s something that’s enjoyable,” says Kemp. “You’re looking at it completely differently from, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to do this right now.’ Creating that experience.”

Kemp believes that muscle foreplay has the added benefit of making us more in tune with what our bodies are ready to do that day if we take the opportunity to listen.

“It’s a moment to tap into your emotional space and what you need,” says Kemp. “It’s like checking in with yourself the way you do with your partner.”

Are you ready to get down with some foreplay? Kemp’s favorite thing, first, is to breathe deeply and send oxygen throughout your body. Next, he likes to lead his class in a series of bodyweight squats, as it’s a highly cardiovascular full-body movement that encourages blood flow to strengthen those muscles. Finally, try a plank as it helps engage all of your muscles, increasing the likelihood that they will remain active throughout the main event.

But who says the main course is better than the appetizer? When a warmup feels good, that muscle foreplay may be your favorite part of the meal. enjoy

Prepare your muscles for their next workout with this powerful flow:

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