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The 30-second muscle warm-up

THE GIST

Lightly tapping the muscles you plan to target during your workout can help you train longer and harder.

EXPERT INSIGHT

The practice comes from a sports massage technique called tapotement, which uses manual techniques to prime the body for exercise. Stimulating your quads, biceps, or other muscles in this way increases blood flow to the area, says Sarah Starkweather, a group fitness instructor at Equinox locations in New York City.

A few things happen as a result: First, more oxygen gets delivered to the tissues, delaying fatigue, explains Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in Beverly Hills. Plus, the muscles become warmer and more pliable, which improves your range of motion so you can squat deeper and jump higher.

THE BOTTOM LINE

When you warm up, use the pinky side of your hand or a light fist to gently strike the muscles you plan to work as well as any areas that feel tight, Starkweather says. Focus on each for up to 30 seconds. You should feel slight pressure but no pain—redness or bruising signal that you’ve gone too far.

Photo: Getty Images