Lots of jumps and twists with little rest can torch kilojoules and rev your metabolism. But they can also lead to sloppy fitness form, says corrective exercise specialist Michael Rosengart. Combined with extra pressure on your joints from the explosive moves, this leads to a spike in joint instability, as well as all-caps pain – knee pain (from cartilage damage), torn ligaments, shoulder pain (due to a tear or impingement) and chronic lower-back problems.
Offset all that impact with this prep sesh from Rosengart before every class. By focusing on the joints that take the most hits, you can bang out more reps with less strain and at a faster pace, he says. Win-win.
1. Wall Foot Stretch
Why: This move helps activate the muscles and stimulates bloodflow, leading to a better workout and legs with a can-do attitude.
How to: Stand near a wall with the toes of one foot a few centimetres up the wall and your heel on the floor. Step towards the wall, keeping your foot flexed, to stretch your ankle and calf. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
2. Squat Hold
Why: Squats employ your back, core, butt and of course, quads. Prep them before hand with a weights-free hold to alert them to the impending action.
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Push your hips down and back until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then reverse the movement to return to start. Do three to five reps.
3. Single-Leg Deadlift
How to: Stand with one knee bent and lift your other foot off the floor. With a flat back, hinge at your hips and lower your torso as you lift your raised leg in the air. Reverse to return to start; do five reps. Repeat on the other side.
This article originally appeared on www.womenshealthmag.com