February 02, 2022
If you are not warming up before every workout, you are really putting yourself at a disadvantage. In this post we will provide 10 of the best dynamic warm up exercises that you should do before exercising.
We included a full-length full-body bodyweight dynamic warm up that you can follow along to before any workout. 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 up exercises, the benefits and how to do them.
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.
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.
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.
The perfect warm up should focus on:
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.
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:
Both ways are fine, but to save time, we prefer option 1.
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 involves 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:
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.
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.
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.
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
As the name suggests, this exercise will improve your thoracic spine mobility. 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 rotation and anti-rotation movements.
Reps: 3 to each side
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.
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.
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
This is a simple exercise that is great for the shoulders and scapular (should blades). It will help to loosen them up and stabilize the scapula.
Reps: 4 forward rotations, 4 backward rotations
This exercise combines two movements. It’s going to stretch your thoracic spine your low back, and your shoulders.
Reps: 3 to each side
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 workouts that heavily rely on grip.
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.
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
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.
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:
It will also dynamically stretch the muscles of both your upper and lower body, such as:
Dynamic Exercises in the Warm Up (TIMESTAMPS):
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!
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