Warm Up Properly: The 15 Best Dynamic Warm Up Exercises & Routines To Prevent Injury

Today, you’re gonna learn all about the importance of warming up, and how to warm up with specific video routines!

In this guide we’ll cover the following (click to go to that section?):

This stuff is so important because getting injured sucks.

And every single day I watch people wander into the gym, immediately lie down on a bench, and start cranking out their workout with a heavy weight within seconds.

This makes me weep for humanity.

These people are just WAITING to get injured. They’re essentially playing with dynamite (also not recommended).

Playing with dynamite is not recommended

So you’re reading the right article.

If you have questions about how to warm up, I bet you have a lot of other questions about how to train correctly!

Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a tiny Yoda who travels with you anywhere in the world to answer questions on warming up, lifting correctly, and proper nutrition?

If so, check out uber popular 1-on-1 Coaching Program!

Our certified instructors help busy people like you lose weight, gain muscle, and level up their lives, and we’d love to have you if you’re interested!

Should I stretch Before A Workout? No. Warm Up Instead

Above all else, the most important thing you can do when working out is warming up properly.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Come on. Surely it’s not the MOST important thing…”

To which I’d reply: “First, don’t call me Shirley. Secondly, if you don’t have enough time to warm up, then you don’t have enough time to work out.”

Boom!

So WHY is it so important? 

Think of your muscles like rubber bands.

If you spend all day sitting at a desk, hunched over a keyboard, those rubber bands have gone almost completely unused.

Then, if you go to a gym and immediately start lifting heavy weights or sprinting really fast, those cold, unstretched rubber bands get pulled apart very quickly and can get snapped or pulled out of shape.

#Fail.

So, what about just regular, static stretching before working out? 

Nope.

As we point out in “Should you stretch before or after your workout?“:

A consolidation of studies showed there aren’t many benefits to static stretching before workouts. 

For starters, static stretching will not result in the reduction of chance of injury, for starters.

Also, static stretching can actually decrease your potential for strength gains and performance.”

However, dynamic warm-ups – what you’ll learn in this article and what we focus on with our 1-on-1 coaching clients – are AWESOME for prepping you to get ready to strength train:

Think of it like a pregaming for your muscles – except replace “alcohol” with “awesome.” By jumping around and getting your muscles loose, active, warm, and ready for action, you are putting your muscles through their full range of motion and getting them ready to start handling heavier loads (strength training).

As pointed out in this study, “warming up” can also help reduce soreness after a workout.

On top of that, doing a dynamic warm-up can help activate your central nervous system, priming your muscles for a great workout that produces your best effort.

Add “improved blood circulation” to the list of benefits of warming up, which will help you perform well in each exercise.

Need another reason? When your body is properly warmed up, your muscles and joints are ready for maximum flexibility, which means you can perform each exercise with PROPER form (like deep barbell squats, for example) that maximize results and minimize the risk of injury.

So, whether you are running or strength training…a proper warm-up is probably the most important 5-10 minutes of your day. 

Still with me? 

Great. If you have been injured in the past, and you’re learning to warm up so you can stop stalling out on your progress, let us help!

We create custom workout solutions with nutritional guidance for busy people like you.

In other words, we help you get strong and eat better, every step of the way. 

Beginner Dynamic Warm Up Video And Exercises

The above video comes from Senior Female Coach Staci Ardison, whose success story is here (and she’s now a lead trainer in our NF Coaching Program)

Don’t overthink this: Your goal is to elevate your heart rate, put your muscles and joints through their range of motion to warm them up and make sure everything is functioning properly, and preparing your body to strength train!

This will get you prepped for a day of getting stronger.

If you read the above paragraph and thought: “Yes I am doing strength training, please tell me more Steve! More!”

Firstly, thanks for saying please – your mom taught you well.

Next: let us help get you strong, safely! We help busy people go from strength-training-newbie to strength training badasses.

Whether you’re doing bodyweight or new to weight training, we create a workout program and provide food guidance that’s specific to YOUR life.

Advanced Dynamic Warm Up And Video

Here is and Advanced Warm-up Circuit you can do anywhere:

  • Jump rope: 2-3 minutes (optional)
  • Jumping jacks: 50 reps(pull your shoulder blades back, extend arms and really focus on the movement)
  • Bodyweight Squats: 20 reps
  • Lunges: 5 reps each leg
  • Hip extensions: 10 reps
  • Hip rotations: 10 reps each leg (like you’re stepping over a fence)
  • Forward leg swings: 10 reps each leg.
  • Side leg swings: 10 reps each leg
  • Push-ups: 10-20 reps
  • Spider-man steps: 5 each leg

This particular warm-up might be more difficult than your actual workout, especially if you’re following something like The Beginner Bodyweight Workout.

Yes, there is a lot of work put on your hips, butt, legs, and core. As nerds/desk jockeys, these tend to be the muscles that are the tighest and least active, and thus most susceptible to an injury.

If your arms and chest are particularly tight or sore, you can throw two more movements as well: 

  • Arm swings (holding your arms straight out to the side, and then swing them and cross them in front of your chest)
  • Shoulder rotations (holding your arms straight out to the side, and move your arms in a circular motion, making bigger circles each time)

Here’s another advanced dynamic warm up video from my coach, Anthony, which also covers a lot of Mobility:

When it comes time for your workout, if you are doing heavy strength training (with barbells or dumbbells), make sure you do some warm-up sets before jumping into the weight you’ll be training with for EACH EXERCISE.

Always start with a set using just the bar to work on your form and get your body used to the movement.

Then, do a few sets of just a few reps with increasing weight (but won’t tire you out) and THEN start your workout.

If you have injuries or specific goals you’re working on, work with one of our coaches and start getting strong safely!

15 Best Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises To Prevent Injury

This LEGO man warms up so he doesn't get injured during exercise

These are our favorite quick warm-up exercises that can help you prevent an injury during your workout! 

  1. Marching in place while swinging your arms.
  2. Jumping jacks
  3. Walking jacks
  4. Arm circles and shoulder shrugs.
  5. Mountain Climbers
  6. Swinging toe touches.
  7. Leg swings (forward and side to side).
  8. Hip rotations (like stepping over a fence)
  9. Hip circles (like you’re hula hooping)
  10. Bodyweight squats.
  11. Push-ups.
  12. Lunges.
  13. Hip extensions.

Get into the habit of doing these exercises before doing any workout. They’ll help keep you mobile and limber and injury free. If you’re not sure how to do any of these movements, watch the videos for them below.

1. MARCHING IN PLACE WHILE SWINGING ARMS

2. WALKING JACKS (If You Can’t Do Jumping Jacks)

Do walking jacks if you can't do jumping jacks!

3. JUMPING JACKS

Jumping Jacks are a great cardiovascular bodyweight exercise

4. ARM CIRCLES AND SHOULDER SHRUGS

5. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

6. SWINGING TOE TOUCHES

7. LEG SWINGS (FORWARD AND SIDE)

8. HIP ROTATIONS

9. HIP CIRCLES

10. BODYWEIGHT SQUATS

Do a proper bodyweight squat to work out your legs

11: KNEE PUSH-UPS

Knee push-ups like this are a great way to progress to a regular push-up!

12: REGULAR PUSH-UPS

This gif shows Staci doing a push-up in perfect form.

13. SUPPORTED LUNGES

Do the assisted lunge until you can do regular lunges

14. REGULAR LUNGES

Do Lunges to strengthen your legs for the beginner bodyweight exercises!

15. HIP RAISES

These exercises are the PERFECT movements you should be doing before any strength training program.

Oh what’s that? You’re new to strength training and not sure what you’re doing? No problem!

We help people exactly like you.

Well, not exactly. You’re a unique snowflake, your mom loves you, etc.

What I mean is we help people like you to start strength training.

We do form checks, create custom workouts based on your equipment and time commitment, and more.

To answer your first few questions…

“Steve, I can’t do jumping jacks/I live on the second floor.” 

That’s okay – the reason I love jumping jacks is that they work out all four of your limbs at once and get you bouncing around.

Instead, channel your inner Chuck Norris and do punches and kicks with each leg. I don’t care if you can’t kick higher than your shins and your punch wouldn’t kill a fly…just get those limbs flailing and warmed up!

Also, watch our video for “walking jacks” – just don’t knock any expensive vases off your shelves 🙂

“Um, your warm-up is tougher than my actual workout!” 

The dynamic warm-up above is designed for people who are doing serious training.

If you are doing heavy deadlifts and squats and overhead presses, a proper warm-up could keep you out of a career-ending injury.

However, if you are just getting started with exercise and you’re only doing bodyweight exercises, obviously 20 real push-ups during your workout isn’t possible…

THAT’S OKAY. Think of the above as the warm-up you aspire to complete. In the meantime, do the best you can. Let’s say:

  • Jump rope for 30 seconds
  • Leg swings and arm circles: 20 reps
  • Squats: 10 reps
  • Lunges: 5 each leg
  • Eelevated push-ups wall push-ups: 5 reps

Follow the rest of the routine as planned if possible.

In this routine, your warm-up will act as part of your workout, as you’ll be doing the same functional movements.

Do the BEST you can, keep track of your results for your warm up too, and improve with each workout.

With enough consistency and persistency (not a word, but rhymed better and sounded way better than persistence), you’ll be busting out the full warm-up routine before kicking ass at your actual workout!

Don’t have a program to follow? Or tired of following a random plan online that’s not getting you results?

Check out our Online Coaching Program – we’ll take care of all the heavy lifting (except the actual “heavy lifting,” that’s your job).

Warm Up Properly And Avoid Injury!

Hopefully, this is a post you bookmark, as it’s probably one of the more important ones I’ve ever written.

If you want to stay injury free, put your body through a dynamic warm-up before you start your exercise.

If you are somebody that wants to follow a program that is tailor-made for their life and situation and goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 Coaching program.

You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you better than you know yourself, answer any and all fitness questions you have, and program your workouts and nutrition for you.

 

What other questions can I answer for you about warming up properly?

I’m here to help!

-Steve

PS: What should you do after your workout? Stretch!

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All photo sources can be found right here.[1]

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