dynamic warm up

Dynamic Warm Up: Benefits, Examples, Exercises & Follow Along Video

August 28, 2020

If you are not warming up before every workout, you are really putting yourself at a disadvantage. A good warm up will not only help you prevent injuries, but it will also help you perform at your best. In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of dynamic warm ups and how to do one. Additionally, we will provide 10 of the best dynamic warm up exercises that you can do before exercising. We also put together a full-length full-body bodyweight dynamic warm up that you can follow along to before any workout.

Note: The 10 minute dynamic warm up follow along routine at the end of this article was done before a steel mace workout. So, if you are a steel mace enthusiast, you will definitely want to put this warm up routine on before your next intense steel mace workout.

dynamic warm up exercises


A dynamic warm up involves short dynamic stretches and movements aimed to loosen up your joints and the surrounding muscles and increase your body temperature and blood flow. The exercises in a dynamic warm up should mimic movements that you will use in the workout to come, as to optimize your range of motion and prepare your muscles to endure resistance and tension. When doing a dynamic warm up, you should emphasize the mobility and stability of joint complexes that will bear the brunt of your workout.

Should I stretch before working out?

You should do short dynamic stretches of 1-5 seconds before working out, but you should not do long holds. The goal is to loosen up and decrease stiffness, not create too much laxity.

Static Stretches vs Dynamic Stretches

A static stretch is a stretch that you hold for an extended period of time. This is how you increase your flexibility. Doing static stretches before a workout is not beneficial for your workout because it creates too much laxity. Static stretches should be done after working out.

Dynamic stretches are short stretches with movements that mimic the sport or activity to come. A dynamic stretch may be similar to a static stretch exercises, but instead of holding the stretch, you move in and out of it, focusing on improving your range of motion for the exercises to come.

For example, you may bob in and out of a low lunge stretch, do hip circles, and perform deep bodyweight squats, among a couple other movements/dynamic stretching exercises, before a leg workout.

Overall, the goal of a dynamic stretching warm up is to normalize mobility and joint stabilization, whereas static stretches aim to increase flexibility. The difference is not to be overlooked as a warm up that incorporates dynamic stretches is advantageous before a workout but one that uses static stretches is disadvantageous.

dynamic stretching exercises


The perfect warm up should focus on:

  • Mobility
  • Joint Stabilization
  • Increasing body temperature
  • Increasing blood flow to your joints and muscles

Mobility and joint stabilization come from dynamic stretches. This will improve and optimize your range of motion.

Increasing body temperature and blood flow comes from bodyweight movements that mimic the main exercises in your workout. By getting your blood flow up to par, you will have more strength.

Together, you will improve your durability. Durability is what you want as it will make you injury resilient and more powerful during your workout.

Durability = Mobility + Strength


A good warm up provides an array of benefits.

  1. Improves Performance: A warm up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system (i.e heart rate), increasing muscle temperature and allowing more oxygen to be available for your muscles. This will help you perform the strenuous task to come with greater ease.
  2. Reduces Risk of Injury: Warming up improves muscle elasticity and cooling efficiency, enabling you to be more injury resilient and avoid overheating during your workout or sport.
  3. Improves Range of Motion: Dynamic warm ups put emphasis on mobility (not just cardio), so you will have the necessary range of motion to perform your exercises to the greatest effect. Moving through a full range of motion will allow you to reap the full benefits of any given resistance exercise.
  4. Prepares You Mentally: Not all of working out is physical. Your mind plays an important role. Most of the time, your mind gives up before your body. A warm up will gradually get your mind ready for a rigorous workout. Jumping straight into it without warming up can definitely throw off the mental side of your workout. So keep that in mind.
  5. Reduce Soreness & Tension: If you are sore from a previous workout, you should not work the muscles that are sore. However, even some soreness in areas you are not planning to train can affect your workout. A warm up will loosen you up and increase your blood flow, which will help reduce soreness and tension in your muscles. Thus, you can improve your all-around performance.

how to warm up


When warming up, you need to focus on two things, mobility and getting your heart rate and body temperature up. To do that, you need to do dynamic stretches and bodyweight movements.

A good dynamic warm up will be full body, even if you don’t plan to do a full body workout. That said, if you are working a specific muscle group (or upper body/lower body, push/pull, etc.), then you should emphasize movements and stretches around the joint complexes that will bear the brunt of your workout.

For example, if you plan to train your legs, you can do a full body warm up that involves a couple upper body dynamic stretches and movements with 4-6 lower body dynamic stretches and movements. That way you are targeting your full body, but you are putting greater focus on the area you plan to train. You may not think it is important to target your shoulder or thoracic spine on leg day, but it is. You need your full body to train even specific muscle groups (i.e. you can't train your back without your shoulders and arms, and often times hamstrings). This is especially true if you are doing proper, compound exercises, which we highly recommend over machines (at least for the majority of your workout).

Now, let’s go over a little more about how to do dynamic stretches and how to get your cardiovascular system in check.

There are two ways to go about a dynamic warm up.

1. You can incorporate bodyweight movements and dynamic stretches into one routine or sequence, similar to yoga. This way you fill both needs with one deed.

2. You can first do some form of cardio (jog, skipping, jumping jacks, rowing, etc.), then do some dynamic stretches to improve your range of motion.

Both ways are fine, but to save time, we prefer option 1.

what is a dynamic warm up

Dynamic Warm Up Sequence/Routine: We will be showing you a full length warm up routine that includes 10 of our favorite dynamic warm up exercises. It is a sequence that involve both dynamic stretches and bodyweight movements that will get your body temperature up and improve your range of motion all in one.

Before we get into that, we just want to go over a few more things…


When it comes to a dynamic warm up, you should focus on ALL your joints, not just the main ones we often talk about.

So, this includes:

Many of our readers use kettlebells and steel maces, so hitting those often overlooked joints like the wrists is essential. Our dynamic warm up below targets all of the joints above.

PLUS…the following muscles…

A good dynamic warm up, as ours is, will dynamically stretch the muscles of both your upper and lower body:

All in all, creating a good dynamic warm up is really not that complicated. Just focus on improving range of motion for all your joints complexes and dynamically stretch your muscles and prime them for the workout or activity you are about to do.

benefits of dynamic stretching


A warm up doesn’t have to be a long endeavor. 5-10 minutes is perfect. If you are already somewhat warm from walking or biking to the workout, then 5 minutes will do. However, if you are feeling cold and stiff, aim for 10 minutes.

Our bodyweight dynamic warm up routine is 10 minutes long, which we believe is the perfect length, generally speaking.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. We will first present you with our 10 minute dynamic warm up routine. Then, we will break it all down for you with pictures demonstrating each of the 10 movements that make up the dynamic warm up.


Follow along with Paulina Kairys as she goes through a highly effective 10 min dynamic bodyweight warm up. This is the perfect warm up that you can do at home or in the gym before any workout. It will loosen up your joints for optimal mobility, increase your heart rate & blood flow, and get your body temperature up so you can do an intense workout with a higher level of injury resilience and power output.

This 10 minute upper and lower body warm up includes exercises that will prime the following joints for mobility and stability:

  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Scapular
  • Elbows
  • Wrists
  • Thoracic Spine/Neck
  • Lumbar Spine

It will also dynamically stretch the muscles of both your upper and lower body, such as:

  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Obliques
  • Lats
  • Forearms
  • Shoulders/Rotator Cuff

Dynamic Exercises in the Warm Up (TIMESTAMPS):

  1. Lateral Reaches (0:13)
  2. Thoracic Rotations (0:44)
  3. Spinal Rolls (1:08)
  4. Overhead Deep Squat to Thoracic Rotations (2:15)
  5. Inch Worm to World’s Greatest Stretch to Hamstring Stretch to Downward Dog (3:13)
  6. Shoulder & Scapular Rotations (4:58)
  7. Thoracic Rotation to Thread the Needle (5:39)
  8. Forearm & Grip Stretch (6:51)
  9. Wrist Stretch (7:29)
  10. 90/90 Stretch (8:26)


Warming up before a workout is essential. Not only does it help prevent injuries, but it also leads to better results as you can perform at peak strength and mobility. Let these 10 dynamic exercises be the staple of your warm up.

1. Lateral Reaches

best dynamic warm up exercises

Lateral reaches are a great way to stretch your spine and obliques. It will also help to promote better posture!

Reps: 3 to each side


  • With each bend, exhale and make the stretch a bit longer.
  • Root your feet firmly into the ground.
  • Squeeze and activate your legs, glutes and abdominals.

2. Thoracic Rotations

thoracic spine warm up exercises

As the name suggests, this exercise will stretch and mobilize your thoracic spine. This is a great movement to get a feel for your optimal thoracic rotation capacity. It will also help to activate your core, an important aspect for steel mace training as it involves a lot of rotation and anti-rotation movements.

Reps: 3 to each side


  • Keep your hips squared forward, it’s your thoracic spine (upper back) that is doing the rotation.
  • Keep your ribcage down as best as you can.
  • Squeeze your legs and glutes throughout the movement.

3. Spinal Rolls

best way to warm up before working out

Spinal rolls are great for de-stressing your spine and stretching your low back, glutes and hamstrings. Move slowly on this exercise and really feel each vertebrae as you lower down.

Reps: 3


  • Focus on your spine and how it feels as your roll down. Really feel it.
  • Hold the stretch at the bottom, rotate your head left and right and up and down. Breathe through your belly.
  • At the top, when standing straight, feel free to roll your shoulders a bit to loosen them up as well.

4. Overhead Deep Squat to Thoracic Rotations

full body warm up

This exercise combines a couple movements in one. It is a complex movement that is great for both getting warm and improving mobility. It will improve the range of motion in your hips and then your thoracic spine. By keeping your arms overhead, you will also be priming your body to sit up straight during the squat, which promotes good form, and you will be activating your shoulders.

Reps: 3


  • Start standing straight up with your arms overhead as best as you can.
  • When you squat down, go deep.
  • Put your elbows to your inner knees and actively press out to stretch your hip abductors.
  • When you do the thoracic rotation, try to bring the top arm to a completely vertical position without rotating your hips.

5. Inch Worm to World’s Greatest Stretch to Hamstring Stretch to Downward Dog

examples of warm up exercises

This is another complex warm up movement that will get your blood flowing while improving your range of motion. This movement has multiple benefits in terms of target areas. It is going to stretch your back, hamstrings, hips, inner thighs, shoulders, thoracic spine, and even your calves.

Reps: 1 to each side


  • Start in a standing position and roll your spine down while keeping your knees straight if you can, so you can get a stretch in your hamstring.
  • Slowly walk your hands out to a push up position.
  • Bring your right leg to the side of your right hand, then shift your right arm up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, sink deeper into the stretch by pushing your hips towards the floor. You can bob a bit and make it more of a ballistic stretch.
  • Then plant your hand back down and push your hips up to extend both legs. This will stretch your hamstrings again. Your back heel can stay up off the ground.
  • From here, step your right leg back into downward dog, then mark your feet in place. This will give your hamstrings and calves a nice dynamic stretch. Give a good 6-8 marches, 4 each side.
  • After, step your left leg to the side of your left hand and continue to the world’s greatest stretch. So, you will only be doing the inchworm once.

6. Shoulder & Scapular Rotations

list of warm up exercises

This is a simple exercise that is great for the shoulders and scapular (should blades). It will help to loosen them up and stabilize them.

Reps: 4 forward rotations, 4 backward rotations


  • Get on your hands and knees with your back straight.
  • Keep your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • As you roll your shoulders, really focus on the rotator cuff and shoulder blades. Connect your mind to them.

7. Thoracic Rotation to Thread the Needle

how to stretch your spine

This exercise combines two movements. It’s going to stretch your thoracic spine (you are seeing this a lot in this workout as it is a steel mace warm up, so thoracic mobility is important), your low back, and your shoulders.

Reps: 3 to each side


  • Get on your hands and knees with your back straight.
  • Place your right hand on your ear and rotate your thoracic spine so that your elbow is pointing straight up. Keep your hips squared to the ground.
  • As you rotate down, remove your hand from your ear and bring it under and straight across your body. You should come down into a cradle pose with your right arm under your body, right ear to the ground, thoracic spine rotated, hips squared forward, and butt up towards the ceiling.
  • After you do one side for 3 reps, do the same on your left side.

8. Forearm & Grip Stretch

steel mace warm up exercises

This exercise is straight forward. It is going to stretch your grip, which includes your hands, wrists, and forearms. While this is an important warm up movement for any workout that involves heavy use of your grip, it is especially important for steel mace and kettlebell workouts as they heavily rely on grip.

Reps: 3


  • Place your hands in front of your knees about shoulder-width apart. Knees together, and get on your toes for an added foot stretch.
  • Elbows straight and push your shoulders down and away from your ears.
  • Lean your body forward, stop when the stretch is adequate and hold for a couple seconds then return to the starting position, that’s one rep.

9. Wrist Stretch

wrist stretches

This is very similar to the movement above. However, your palms will be facing up. This way, you are focusing more on your wrists, rather than your forearms. It’s a great way to stretch and improve the stabilization of your wrists.

Reps: 3


  • The movement is the same as above, so follow the same movement pattern, just palms up.
  • For this one, don’t put too much pressure on your wrists. A light stretch is enough.
  • After you finish, do some wrist rolls to relieve some tension.

10. 90/90 Stretch

90/90 stretch

This is a classic exercise. It is going to help you build strong internal hip flexors. It’s also going to improve the flexibility and range of motion in the muscles that rotate your hip flexors.

Reps: 3 to each side


  • Front leg at a 90-degree angle, back leg as well. Everything stacked.
  • Sit tall and tuck your hips underneath. Make sure your rib cage is also down.
  • Actively push your knees to the ground, using your hands to assist. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • After, you will flip to the other side. For this, you push your feet into the ground and rotate at the hips. If you need help, you can plant your hands behind you. If not, you can keep your arms straight out in front of you.

And that’s it. 10 great dynamic warm up exercises that will target your full body. This is a great routine to do before any workout, especially steel mace and kettlebell workouts.


Cooling down after a workout is important too! Make sure you don’t skip out on a cool down. Our favorite way to cool down is will a decompression flow.

Learn about cooling down after a workout and follow along to Paulina Kairys’ decompression flow!

should i warm up before working out

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