Getting your body moving before starting a workout is crucial. Dynamic warmups can help you prepare for strength training by incorporating different movements. They can include working with your legs or arms to engage your muscles and joints.
Performance enhancement specialist Jowan Ortega says dynamic warmups can help athletes prepare for training and sporting competitions.
“The movements should increase the body’s temperature, range of movement, blood flow to active muscles and be geared toward their particular sport or activity,” Ortega says.
Pro Tips is here to guide you through a few different dynamic warmups. No equipment is necessary for these exercises, but get ready to move.
- Begin in an upright position and take one step forward.
- Once you make that first step, lift your leg up to a 90-degree bend.
- Grab your knee with both hands, holding it for two seconds.
- Bring your leg down and then alternate sides by taking another step forward and raising your other knee.
KNEE-TO-SHOULDER HIP STRETCH
- Begin in a standing position and take a step forward.
- Lift your right leg up. Grab your knee with your right hand. Your left hand will grab the bottom of your shin, close to your ankle.
- Your foot should be in front of your left leg, which will be in contact with the ground. Hold this position for two seconds.
- Avoid having any bend in your back. The leg that is in the air should be slanted with your knee facing up toward the ceiling.
- Bring your leg back down and then alternate with the left knee.
This move is similar to the knee pull exercise, but with one main difference. Once your knee is in the air and held by your hands, take your foot that’s on the ground and lift your heel up. Your toes should remain on the ground, but bring the heel up slightly.
HAMSTRING AND CALF SCOOPS
- Keep your body straight with good posture. Take a step forward with your right leg.
- Lift and bend your left leg into a “V” shape. Your knee should be pointing toward the ground with your foot elevated behind you.
- Grab your left foot with your left hand, holding it in position, while also raising your right arm.
- With your right arm fully extended in the air, lift your right heel off the ground. Keep your toes in contact with the ground.
- Repeat, alternating legs and switching arm raises.
OPPOSITE HAND, OPPOSITE FOOT KICKS
- Take a step forward with your right leg.
- As you move, swing your left leg up and have your opposite arm reach toward your toes. Your right foot should remain flat on the ground and your back should be as straight as possible.
- Bring the leg back down in a controlled movement.
- Repeat, alternating sides.
DROP 10 YARDS, DROP BACK
For this exercise, you’re simply going to jog 10 yards out in front of you and then jog back to your starting position. While there is no equipment needed, feel free to bring along cones to mark the distance.
SIDE SHUFFLE 10 YARDS, SHUFFLE BACK
Instead of jogging 10 yards, this time you’re going to side shuffle.
To side shuffle:
- Get into a squat-like position with your feet hip-width apart. You’ll have a slight bend at the knees, and your arms should be out in front of you and bent at the elbows.
- Take your right leg and move it to the side, while also bringing your inside leg toward the right leg.
- Avoid tangling your feet together.
- Do this for 10 yards down and back before your starting position.
- You can do this exercise stationary or by jogging forward. For this example, we’ll be jogging.
- As you move forward, kick your legs up behind you and close to your backside.
- Alternate legs with every step you take. Don’t kick, then stop, and kick again. This should be a continuous motion.
- Position your body sideways, just like you would for the side shuffle.
- As you jog sideways, take one leg and put it behind the other.
- Alternate legs and continue this motion.
- Keep your hands in constant movement, bringing your hands in and out in front of your chest to help with balance.
- Remain on your toes throughout the exercise. You shouldn’t be flat-footed.
Think of this exercise as being similar to knee hugs. Instead of hugging each knee, though, you’ll repeatedly bring one knee up and one knee down, alternating sides as you move forward. Each foot should be on the ground no longer than one second. Pump your arms up and down next to your side.
SPIDER LUNGE WITH ROTATION AND REACH-THROUGH
Begin this exercise standing in a tall position. Then, you’ll position your body as if you were completing a lunge. To do this, take your left leg and bend it at a 90-degree angle, with your knee pointing forward and your foot flat on the ground. Your rear leg should be extended behind you with your knee pointing down and your heel up in the air.
Once you are comfortable in this position:
- Take your right arm and touch the ground, keeping your balance.
- Bring your head and shoulders forward, as they should now be parallel with your left leg and knee.
- With your left arm, reach high up into the air, while rotating your body to face your outstretched arm.
- Bring your arm back down in a slow, controlled motion.
- Return up to your standing position and take a step forward.
- Repeat these steps, alternating sides.
Ortega reminds athletes that these exercises are for warming up your body for physical activity and “not [to] induce fatigue.”
Now that you have a handful of dynamic warmup exercises to try, learn how to cool down from physical activity. Static stretching can help you wind down from active movement. Learn a few different types of static stretching techniques with these Pro Tips.