Favorite Warm Up Exercises

You need warm up exercises to get your muscles warmed up and ready for a tough workout. These are low effort movements that you can do before you start your regular exercise program. Many are dynamic stretches, which gently warm the muscles. Dynamic stretches keep your body moving and unlike toe touching, aren’t held for long. Torso twists are one example. They also prepare your heart for a workout and improve your performance.

Reaching in all directions can help.

One of my favorite warm-ups is super simple. Just stand with feet apart wider than hip-width. You’ll do a propeller move, pivoting on one foot as you swing that arm across your chest and twisting your upper body and torso in that same direction. Then you do it with the other foot and arm. Standing in the same position, lean the body to one side, bending that knee as you do and stretching the opposite arm into the air at a diagonal to your body. Stretch as you make that move and repeat it using the other side.

Pacing is actually the start of a warm-up.

Anything that gets your circulation going is a good way to start. Jogging in place or simply pacing can be beneficial. Mix that pacing with something a little more difficult, like a walking lunge or lunge twist. Like the movement above it’s all about stretching your arms and twisting and you bend down into the lunge. You can do a side lunge and lift your opposite arm above your head and lean to that side, for even more benefit.

Mimic the exercise you’ll be doing, but on a far gentler level.

If you’re running, jog a bit at first. Use those muscles you’ll be using for running and do leg swings or leg pendulums. Just gently swing one leg and then swing the other. Follow that with quad stretches for a few seconds. If you’re lifting weights, warm-ups increase your range of motion, reduce the potential for injury and help you make more impressive and permanent changes. Warm the whole body with short jogs, jumping jacks, squats, push-ups or lunges.

Riding a stationary bike and then switching to arm circles can be an easy warm-up that will address all areas of your body. When you do arm circles, start with small circles in one direction and work toward larger ones, then change the direction of the circles.

Easy body twists can help warm core muscles. Stand with feet wider than hip-width and arms outstretched, at a 90 degree angle to the body. Twist the upper body from side-to-side.

If you’re doing explosive training, the quick bursts of energy of jumping jacks can be an easy warm-up that won’t stress the muscles. Explosive training maximizes your power in a short period of time.

When you’re doing warm-up workouts, start slower and easier, then work up to a faster pace and level of difficulty. Your initial warm-up should gradually move to more difficult and prepare the body for even harder moves of your workout.

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