Is your body ready for summer sports? The seasonal shift into warmer months tends to transport our training routine from gym-based bodybuilding to al fresco aerobics. And while the switch to outdoor fitness boasts a bevy of benefits, such as improving mental health and increasing workout adherence, many exercise enthusiasts will sustain injuries from not preparing their muscles for new movement patterns.

The human body has five fundamental movement patterns: hinging, lunging, pushing, pulling, and rotating. For the muscles and joints to stay safe and secure, it’s important to implement exercises that strengthen these components. Yet, many of us forget this valuable fit tip. Over time, this will cause structural imbalances and weak spots to develop, making atrophied areas susceptible to strains and sprains.

Summer sports such as pickleball, golf, swimming and tennis rely heavily on one of the most neglected movement patterns: rotation. Every time you swing a racquet, bat or club, or propel your body weight through water, the stabilizer muscles, which are responsible for rotation, go to work.

Reduce your risk of rotational-related injuries with the following torso-toning workout. You will need a medicine ball, soccer ball, or basketball for this circuit. For best results, complete three times.

Back attack

  • Begin in a table-top position with your shoulders stacked above wrists and hips over knees. Keep your core engaged and back flat.
  • Extend your right arm up toward the sky and let your gaze follow your hand. Hold for one count, squeezing your shoulder blade, then return your arm back to the starting stance. Perform 10 times on each side.
Back attack
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Back attack

Tummy turner

  • Start in a plank position with your shoulders stacked over hands and spine straight. Engage your core to ensure that your hips don’t hike up or sag.
  • Lift your right arm out to the side until it’s at shoulder height. Hold for two counts, then return your hand back to the ground. Repeat 10 times, then move on to the left side.
Tummy turner
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Tummy turner

Wall ball

  • Stand next to a wall with a ball in your hands. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, hinge back at the hips, and bend your knees slightly.
  • Twist your torso as you lightly toss the ball against the wall. (Be cautious when throwing a lighter weight ball, as it will bounce back faster than a heavier medicine ball.)
  • Continue this catch-and-release sequence for 10 counts then switch sides.
Wall ball
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Wall ball

Lunge with a twist

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, firmly holding a ball out in front of your body.
  • Take a step back with your right leg, lowering your body into a lunge. Once you feel balanced, twist your torso to the left and then back to the front.
  • Step through your left heel, returning your body to the starting position. Now practice on the opposite leg. Continue alternating legs for 20 repetitions.
Lunge twist
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Lunge twist

Stay safe this summer by practicing preventive exercises. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Ashley Blake Greenblatt, ACE-CPT, is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more about her virtual training program, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.