Sports Performance Warm-Up for Preventing Injuries

February 5, 2013 | Z Altug

Must See Flexibility Videos


Did you know that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM 2010) recommends a minimum of a five- to 10-minute warm-up before exercise? What your warm-up consists of should be based on your individual goals and needs, but you'll derive the following benefits:

  • Eases you into your exercise session
  • Prepares you for movement
  • Helps prevent injury

The following warm-up is one I have used for years with my clients.

Sports Performance Warm-Up

Aerobic warm-up

Walk, bike or hike, starting at low intensity and gradually increasing the intensity. Afterwards, perform the following muscle and joint mobility exercises to get ready to work out or compete:

Multidirectional Lunges

Set/Reps: 5 on each side

Purpose: Warm up the hips and knees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Step forward with your right foot and return to starting position
  • Step forward diagonally and return to starting position
  • Step sideways to the right and return to starting position
  • Repeat the entire three-step sequence on the left

Foot Rocker

Sets/Reps: perform 10 repetitions

Purpose: Warm up the ankles and knees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend both knees partially, allowing your heels to lift slightly
  • Straighten both legs, allowing your toes to lift slightly

Slow Motion Run

Sets/Reps: Repeat "running in place" sequence 10 times with the right foot on the ground and then 10 times with the left foot on the ground.

Purpose: Warm up the core

  • Stand on your right leg with your left arm by your hip and your left knee above your hip
  • Hold your right hand at shoulder height. You should look like you are sprinting
  • Lower your left foot and right hand toward the ground while your left arm goes up

Arm Raise Lunge

Sets/Reps: perform five reps on each side

Purpose: Warm up the hips and core

  • Lunge forward with your right leg while raising both arms overhead
  • Return to standing position and repeat a lunge with the left leg

Arm Curl to Overhead Reach

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the arms and shoulders

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Curl both arms up and raise them overhead
  • Return to starting position with both arms down by your sides

Diagonal Overhead Reach

Sets/Reps: perform five reps on each side

Purpose: Warm up the core and trunk

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Reach overhead and then diagonally across your body with your right hand
  • Repeat with your left arm

Shoulder Circles

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the shoulders

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Slowly roll your shoulders up and back

Hand Behind Back to Hand Behind Head

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the shoulders

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bring both hands behind your back
  • Slowly raising both arms overhead and placing them behind your head

All-Fours Lumber Rocker

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the core, hips, and knees

  • Start in a hands and knees position
  • Slowly raise your lower back up
  • Gently lower your back into an arch

All Fours to Straight Heel Stretch

Sets/Reps: perform 10 reps

Purpose: Warm up the core, hips, and knees

  • Start in a hands and knees position
  • Slowly sit toward your heels, keeping your hands in front of your shoulders
  • Return to the all-fours position

All Fours to Diagonal Heel Stretch

Sets/Reps: perform five reps with your hands to the right side and five reps with your hands to the left side

Purpose: Warm up the core, hips, and knees

  • Start in a hands and knees position with both hands to the right side
  • Slowly sit toward your heels
  • Return to the all-fours position
Looking for more warm-ups to start your workout or practice? Check out these articles:

References

Abbott AA. "Cardiac arrest litigations." ACSM Health & Fitness Journal. 2013;17(1):31-34.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSMa). ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010.

Topics: WARM-UP
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
Must See
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,230,029
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 5,996,263

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,017,580
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,821
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,687
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,717
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,414
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,085
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,111

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
The Most Important Muscle You've Never Heard Of

The Most Important Muscle You've Never Heard Of

Reducing Tight Hamstrings without Stretching for Hockey Players

Reducing Tight Hamstrings without Stretching for Hockey Players

Optimizing Energy Transfer in Your Lacrosse Shot

Optimizing Energy Transfer in Your Lacrosse Shot

Add Warrior Poses to Your In-Season Training

Add Warrior Poses to Your In-Season Training

3 Exercises That Fix Common Baseball Hip Mobility Issues

3 Exercises That Fix Common Baseball Hip Mobility Issues

How to Fix 4 Common Tight Areas in Your Body

How to Fix 4 Common Tight Areas in Your Body

The Importance of Recovery Workouts

The Importance of Recovery Workouts

Fundamentals of a Pre-Workout Warm-Up

Fundamentals of a Pre-Workout Warm-Up

3 Drills for Better Hip Mobility

3 Drills for Better Hip Mobility

Flexibility for Cross Country From the Ground Up

Flexibility for Cross Country From the Ground Up

Animal Flow Scorpion Reach for Injury Prevention

Animal Flow Scorpion Reach for Injury Prevention

Pre-Workout Warm-Up Steps You Can't Afford to Skip

Pre-Workout Warm-Up Steps You Can't Afford to Skip

The Ultimate Pitcher's Warm-Up: 4 Shoulder Exercises with Bands

The Ultimate Pitcher's Warm-Up: 4 Shoulder Exercises with Bands

6 Thoracic Spine Exercises to Improve Mobility

6 Thoracic Spine Exercises to Improve Mobility

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises Done the Right Way

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises Done the Right Way

Balance Exercises That Are Game-Changers

Balance Exercises That Are Game-Changers

3 Tips To Make Your Stretching Routine More Effective

3 Tips To Make Your Stretching Routine More Effective

Mobility Training for Hockey Goalies

Mobility Training for Hockey Goalies

How to Release Muscle Knots and Trigger Points

How to Release Muscle Knots and Trigger Points

Why and When You Need to Change Your Pre-Game Warm-Up Routine

Why and When You Need to Change Your Pre-Game Warm-Up Routine

Green Bay Packers Discover Football's Fountain of Youth

Green Bay Packers Discover Football's Fountain of Youth

Why You Shouldn't Stretch 24 Hours Before a Game

Why You Shouldn't Stretch 24 Hours Before a Game

4 Ways to Increase Lacrosse Shot Rotational Power

4 Ways to Increase Lacrosse Shot Rotational Power

Go the Distance With This Baseball Yoga Warm-Up

Go the Distance With This Baseball Yoga Warm-Up

Best Joint Mobility Exercises

Best Joint Mobility Exercises

The Yoga Warm-Up for Basketball Players

The Yoga Warm-Up for Basketball Players

Are Tight Hips Slowing You Down?

Are Tight Hips Slowing You Down?

Dig Like a Pro: Exercises for Volleyball Mobility

Dig Like a Pro: Exercises for Volleyball Mobility

These 9 Exercises Will Improve Your Hip Mobility

These 9 Exercises Will Improve Your Hip Mobility

Increase Your Flexibility Without Stretching

Increase Your Flexibility Without Stretching

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises for a Safe, Effective Workout

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises for a Safe, Effective Workout

Improve Your Balance with Stability Ball Exercises

Improve Your Balance with Stability Ball Exercises

How Hockey Goalies Can Get More Flexible for a Better Butterfly

How Hockey Goalies Can Get More Flexible for a Better Butterfly

You're Doing It Wrong: The Warm-Up

You're Doing It Wrong: The Warm-Up

Improve Your Squat With 6 At-Home Hip Flexor Mobility Exercises

Improve Your Squat With 6 At-Home Hip Flexor Mobility Exercises

Build a More Powerful Golf Swing With These Mobility Drills

Build a More Powerful Golf Swing With These Mobility Drills

The Best Stretching Exercise for You

The Best Stretching Exercise for You

Must-Have Additions to Your Baseball Stretching Routine

Must-Have Additions to Your Baseball Stretching Routine

YOGA FAILS, FIXED: How to Not Mess Up Downward Facing Dog

YOGA FAILS, FIXED: How to Not Mess Up Downward Facing Dog

YardBarker