T Nation

List of Pre-Habilitation Exercises

Hey all!! So I am constantly trying to find new exercises to do for my pre-habilitation work… and there are TONS of T-Nation articles devoted to this type of work. However, reviewing all of these articles before each pre-hab workout is not very conducive to a busy schedule… so I went through the articles and organized the exercises and thought I would share my list with you!

****** Please NOTE: Many of these warm-ups, exercises and stretches will be the same or very similar between the different joints. This is because as many of you know, when one joint of the body is weak, tight, misaligned, etc… it often affects many of your other joints as your body naturally compensates for it’s problem areas… Creating further problems!

Therefore, the problem with your ankle may actually start in your glute or even your shoulder! Also, there will be some exercises that you will have to look up yourself as they can’t be explained here in a concise manner. Just use the Search function on the T-Nation site. Once you know what each exercise is, you will just be able to refer to this list and quickly plan your workout. Enjoy!


Warm Up:

  • DC Broomstick Exercise (Holding a broomstick and keeping arms completely straight, raise your arms over head and bring the broomstick behind your back, still keeping arms straight. Then raise it back over your head and bring it in front of your body again. That is 1 rep. As you get more flexible, move your hands in closer together, but ALWAYS keep your arms straight. Shoot for 20-50 reps)
  • Applying Blue Heat lotion from Elite FTS to your shoulder when warming up

-Scapular Pushup (2-3 sets of 15-20 each week)

  • Supine One Arm Dumbbell Protraction (2-3 sets of 15-20 each week)
  • Scapular Wall Slides
  • Behind the Neck Band Pulldowns (Band wall slides)
  • External Rotations (cable, band, DB, weight plate)
  • STRICT Seated Cable Row
  • Lateral Raises with arms 30’ forward and thumbs pointing down
  • Taking a BREAK from squatting and pressing with barbells and instead do Overhead Pressing and Bench Pressing with Dumbbells and a neutral grip (Palm-in) and squat using a cambered bar, safety bar, etc or do front squats. Do this for a couple weeks every couple of months.
  • Also take a break from full range of motion pressing. Try floor press, pin press, board press, or overhead rack lockouts.
  • Prone Lying Internal Rotations
  • Unilateral Movements (1 arm OH press, 1 arm DB Press, Alternating DB Press, etc)
  • Deceleration or “Catch” drills
  • Isometric Elevated Push-up Holds (exactly what they sound like)
  • High Rep Pushups and Scap Pushups on unstable surfaces (swiss ball, dyna-disc, Bosu Ball, etc)


  • Regular ART, rolfing, deep-tissue massage, foam rolling, etc
  • Thoracic Extensions on the foam roller
  • Shoulder Traction with bands (or a partner pulling on the arm)
  • Doorway Stretches for Pecs


Warm Up:

  • Quadruped Hip exercise (Start off by flexing the hip (bringing the knee to the chest), and then lift it to the outside (abduction). Push back (extend) from this position, and then come back around to the starting position (adduction). Performing this mobility drill is often referred to as “doing fire hydrants” for obvious reasons)
  • Over/Under Drills (For the over drills, set the pin on one side of a power rack at approximately knee height. Stand a few inches away from the pin. From here, lift your knee up as high as possible and then step laterally over the pin. Perform the same movement with the opposite leg so that your body is now on the opposite side. For the under drills, start with the bar at approximately chest height. Again, stand a few inches away from the pin with. Sit back and down as if performing a deep squat. Next, perform a lunge to the opposite side, making sure to keep the toes pointing straight ahead, the feet flat on the floor, and the chest up. Don’t let your posture go here! Shift the weight to the lead leg and perform the lunge underneath the pin. Stand up on the opposite side and then repeat in the opposite direction.
  • X-band Walks


  • Scorpions (Lay on stomach, arms straight out from your body. Using your glutes swing the one leg back and over the opposite leg and your torso. Touch the toe to the ground and then return to the starting position. Focus on keeping the opposite hip and shoulders down while performing this exercise.
  • Glute Bridge
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Mini-Band Side Steps
  • Birddog exercise (On all 4’s, lift your arm and your opposite leg simultaneously until they are parallel to the floor).
  • Pull-Throughs
    -Step-Ups (pushing through your heel)


  • Reverse Lunge with Twist (Twist INTO your body. i.e. raise the arm that’s opposite from your front leg over your head and twist your body in towards your lead leg).
  • Back Foot Elevated Lunge with Twist stretch (same as above, except back foot is elevated)
  • 90/90 Stretch
  • Prone Hip Flexor Stretch (Lay on your stomach and have a coach/workout partner bend your leg at a 90’ angle, and then have them slowly lift your quad off the floor to stretch the hip flexor)


Warm Up:

  • X-band walks (1-4 sets performed before lifting)


  • Terminal Knee Extension with bands
  • Focus on single-leg work (single leg squats, lunges, step-ups, single-leg deadlifts)
  • Focus on strengthening the posterior chain with glute-ham raises, RDL’s, deadlifts, reverse hypers, and pull-throughs
  • Learn to absorb force by doing vertical jumps while trying to land as softly as possible


  • Self Mobilization Technique (same as for ankle which will help improve knee health)
  • Self Mobilization Technique done in the dorsiflexed position (same as above, but with a small board under your foot)
  • Foam rolling/direct soft tissue work (massage, ART) of the lateral structures (vastus lateralis and iliotibial band)
  • Back Foot Elevated Lunge stretch for hip flexors, knees and quads
  • Basic Quad and Calf stretches


Warm Up:

  • Rolling the Plantar Fascia (bottom of the foot) over a golf/tennis/racquetball for 60 seconds minimum)
  • Foam Rolling Glutes/Adductors/Abductors
  • Barefoot Dynamic Warm-up (Jumping jacks, Glute Bridges, Single-led RDL, etc)


  • Glute Bridges
  • Clams
  • Band/Cable Inversion/Eversion Exercises
  • Band/Cable/Weighted Dorsiflexion exercises for the tibialis anterior
  • Force Absorption Work (falling off an 18-24" box and landing on 1 foot. Stick landing for 5-30 seconds)


  • Self-Nerve Flossing Technique (look this up on T-Nation =D)
  • Self-Mobilization Technique (stretching Achilles up against a wall)
  • Isometric Foot Contractions (Curl toes towards bottom of your foot like a baby does, hold for ten seconds. Repeat 10 times)

I am not a Powerful Woman but I am very grateful that you posted these exercises.

I agree it is not very convenient to try and find a particular prehab exercise in the plethora of articles T-Nation has.

I am embarking on a career in the Marine Corps and want to take care of my body so these exercises will become more and more important in my training.

I hope this becomes a sticky because these exercises and general prehab/recovery are vital to any Powerful Woman or Man’s routine.

Thanks again.

DDA - Congrats on the Marine Corps!!! That’s a very brave and exciting thing to do! Thank you for serving our country!

I am very glad that you find this helpful!!! I just HAD to organize this info… I was driving myself crazy each week trying to find pre-hab stuff to do… OR I would do the same stuff each week and never change it up!

Good luck with everything!

awesome!! i’ve been driving myself crazy the same way. this is super handy. thanks!!

K…so i’m curious. What are pre-habilitation exercises and what are they used best for?

Of course I will go find some articles on them like you said, but I figured since you have them down I would ask you.

They are exercises done regularly to help prevent injury. Ideally, everything you do in the gym would help prevent injury… but it doesn’t always work that way. So I pick several of these and do them 1-2x a week to help stay healthy! =D

If you are already injured, these can help you rehab the area that you have hurt

BUMP(in’ uglies)

Thank you so much, mmgalb727! As a newb I spend tons of hours lurking & researching the learned comments of powerful women. You just saved me countless hours!

Thanks for the bump deja! =D

Freckleface - you are more than welcome! Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions! =D