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When it comes to our workouts, it's tempting to focus on the periphery like what equipment we need for our home gyms, what goals we want to focus on, or things like that.

Then, when it comes time to train, it can be easy to forget the core fundamentals.

Warm-up stretches are one of the most common casualties. Some people don't even think stretches are necessary unless you're a runner or a powerlifter, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

As Harvard Health notes, when we fail to stretch out and warm up our muscle fibres are weaker than they should be and they're unable to extend to their full length. Not only does this prevent us from performing at our best, but it puts us at risk of injury.

To make sure every workout is a satisfying and safe one, be sure to do these essential stretches every time.

1. Child's Pose

Child's pose is a great move to stretch out the muscles of the back and hips, as well as open up the shoulders.

To perform it, get into a kneeling position with your feet together and your knees hip-distance apart. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale lay your torso onto your knees, push your butt back onto your heels and stretch your arms forward.

Rest your forehead on the mat and hold the pose for three counts. Try to focus on lengthening your spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone.

2. The Donkey Kick

This move warms up the shoulders, core, and glutes. 

Start the move on all fours with your knees beneath your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders. Engage your core to keep your back straight throughout the move.

Keeping your knee bent and the foot flexed, kick one leg up toward the ceiling in a smooth, controlled motion. At maximum extension, hold your position for a count before lowering your leg back to the mat. Perform five reps with each leg and then switch.

You should not feel any tension in your lower back during this move. If you do, make sure that you're keeping your spine in a neutral position and not arching.

3. The Bird-Dog Crunch

This move will help you practice stability, which is important in almost any activity.

Start in a table-top position with your wrists beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips, just like the donkey kick. While keeping your back straight and your hips parallel to the floor, extend your right arm forward and left leg back.

Next, squeeze your abs as you draw your knee and elbow inwards to meet near the centre of your body. Now reverse the movement and extend your arm and leg back out. This is one rep.

Do three controlled reps on each side.

Use These Warm-up Stretches to Stay Limber and Prevent Injury

The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends dynamic stretching before every period of physical activity, taking your body through its full range of motion so that you're ready for any routine.

The warm-up stretches featured here accomplish that, not only helping to prevent injury but getting all of your major muscle groups ready for a good session.

But even before we stretch, there's one thing we have to do first: get motivated. If, like many people, you struggle to work yourself up to work out, then check out these tips to stay motivated and achieve success.

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