The Dynamic Warm-Up, Simplified: 2 Techniques

Follow these tips to make your dynamic warm-up more efficient while preparing your body for optimal performance.

Increasingly, exercise researchers are finding that the dynamic warm-up, not pre-workout static stretching, is the best way for athletes to perform at the highest level and protect themselves against injury. But many dynamic routines can be overly complex for the average athlete.

Here are some tips to make your warm-up simpler so you won't spend hours training, yet you'll prepare your body for optimal performance.

Whether you are a full-time student or work a desk job, chances are you are sitting—or slouching—a minimum of six hours a day. Over the long haul, this damages both your big superficial muscles, the ones responsible for moving your body dynamically, and your deep postural stabilizers, which are vulnerable to fibrotic shortening and neurological tightness.

Read More >>

Increasingly, exercise researchers are finding that the dynamic warm-up, not pre-workout static stretching, is the best way for athletes to perform at the highest level and protect themselves against injury. But many dynamic routines can be overly complex for the average athlete.

Here are some tips to make your warm-up simpler so you won't spend hours training, yet you'll prepare your body for optimal performance.

General Warm-Up

Whether you are a full-time student or work a desk job, chances are you are sitting—or slouching—a minimum of six hours a day. Over the long haul, this damages both your big superficial muscles, the ones responsible for moving your body dynamically, and your deep postural stabilizers, which are vulnerable to fibrotic shortening and neurological tightness.

I am a big proponent of using a generalized warm-up to get the blood flowing, increase the heart rate and maybe even produce a few drops of sweat. You can do this on any cardio machine in the gym. Or, it can be as simple as a light jog out on the field before practice or competition. Shoot for 3-5 minutes of low-intensity activity that peaks at approximately 60 percent of your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age).

RELATED: A Dynamic Warm-Up You Can Perform Anywhere

Pre-Performance Dynamic Warm-Up

Dynamic warm-ups, when programmed properly, enhance:

  • Functional and translatable mobility
  • Motor control and coordination
  • Mastery of specific movement patterns
  • Synergy in the full-body kinetic chain

But be careful—putting too much time and emphasis on the warm-up can take away from actual training performance. If you are looking up at the clock wondering when your extensive warm-up will be over, you know it's lasting too long.

Here are two movements to increase the efficiency of a dynamic warm-up while targeting full-body movements that translate to sport performance and play a role in injury prevention.

Walking Forward Lunge with Overhead Reach

Coaching Points

  • In your forward Lunge position, your front and back knees should be in a 90-degree flexed position, and your back leg should be in perfectly straight alignment with your trunk. Strides that are either too short or too long limit your ability to target your hip stabilizers.
  • Complete the full forward Lunge and maintain the position for a split second before you bring your arms overhead. This creates a stable pelvis and hip complex for your spine and upper extremities to move from.
  • Fully extend your arms with your palms facing one another. This accentuates extension of the spine while incorporating a dynamic stretch of the back shoulder muscles.
  • Bring your arms back down to your sides before returning to a neutral position by stepping forward.
  • Come to a complete stop and center your body before moving forward on the opposite leg.

Walking Deep Lunge to Instep with Rotation

Coaching Points

  • In your forward Lunge position, your front and back knees should be in a 90-degree flexed position, and your back leg should be in perfectly straight alignment with your trunk. Strides that are either too short or too long limit your ability to target your hip stabilizers.
  • After holding the Lunge for a split second to stabilize your pelvis and hip girdles, bring your hands to the inside of your front foot and drop your elbows toward the ground, stretching your inner thigh and medial hamstring.
  • From the bottom position, bring the hand and arm that are next to your front foot off the ground, and, with a straight arm, rotate your thoracic spine and shoulder girdle toward the midline of your body. Move smoothly and slowly to accentuate the dynamic stretch.
  • Bring the rotation hand back down to the ground next to your front foot, pause for a split second again, stretch your medial hamstrings, then push up into a neutral standing position before alternating legs.

Program

Generalized Warm-Up

  • Elliptical - 5 minutes at 60% of your max heart rate

Movement Warm-Up

  • 1A. Walking Forward Lunge with Overhead Reach—Sets/Reps: 3x10 per leg with 10 seconds rest
  • 1B. Walking Deep Lunge to Instep with Rotation—Sets/Reps: 3x10 per leg with 10 seconds rest
  • Note: perform these two movements in a superset, alternating from one to the other with 10 seconds rest between sets.

RELATED: The 7-Minute High-Intensity Dynamic Warm-Up


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: WARM-UP | STRETCHING | HEART | STABILIZE | SPINE | HEART RATE