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To properly warm up for your workout you need to do more than just walk or jog on a treadmill for five minutes.
Warming up isn’t just about getting the blood flowing.
It is also about creating mobility and making sure the proper muscles are ready to do work.
A great warm up includes foam rolling, dynamic stretching and locomotion to make sure that you are loose and mobile in the muscles and joints that you are going to use for your workout that day.
For foam rolling moves, check out the Trigger Point video library.
Below is a full body Dynamic Warm Up in just 15 moves.
Depending on your workout for the day, you may not need to include all the moves. For upper body workouts, focus on the upper body. For lower body workouts, focus on the lower body moves.
These moves are listed in order from lower to upper.
1. Bear Squat with kneeling foot stretch:
Start by sitting back on your heels while your feet are flexed. Rock a little side to side even and feel a stretch down the bottom of your feet and into your big toe.
Then place your hands down on the ground in front of you. The closer you place your hands to your knees, the harder the stretch will be.
Press your butt up into the air, driving your heels to the ground. Feel a nice stretch down your calves and hamstrings. Hold for 1-2 seconds and then drop back down to your knees and sit back onto your heels.
Rock side to side again while seated on your heels and repeat.
2. Spider Stretch with hamstring:
Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and feet together. Your body should start in a nice straight line.
Step your right foot outside your right hand. Drop the right elbow down into the instep of your right foot.
Then rotate open facing your right leg, stretching your right arm up toward the ceiling.
Bring the right hand back down to the ground.
Sit back on your left heel and straighten your right leg. Feel a stretch down your hamstring.
Then bend the right leg and move back into the plank position with the foot outside the hand.
Again drop the elbow and repeat the move on your right side. Complete all reps and then switch and do the stretch on the other side.
3. Dynamic Pigeon Stretch:
Sit on the ground and bring one foot in front. Do not let the heel sneak back toward your body. Keep the knee bent to 90 degrees and feel a stretch in the glute.
Straighten the back leg back as much as possible.
You are going to reach in a circle and loosen up your hips.
Start by reaching out to the left and then slowly move your hands to the right. When you reach as far as you can to the right. Sit up nice and tall and circle back and around to the left side.
Complete all circles with one leg forward and then switch to the other side.
4. Butterfly Stretch with Reach:
Seated, place the bottom of your feet together and then draw your heels in as close to your groin as possible.
Press your knees down toward the ground.
Then reach your hands out over your feet as far as you can.
Relax and repeat.
5. Dynamic Squat Stretch:
Place your feet about hip-width to shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing straight ahead.
Hang over and reach your hands toward the ground. Keep your legs as straight as possible and feel a stretch down your hamstrings.
Place your hands on your feet or touching the ground right inside the arch of your feet.
Sink your butt down as close to the ground as possible and bring your ribs up, opening your chest up toward the ceiling. Make sure your heels don’t come off the ground.
Press your arms out against your knees at the bottom of the stretch.
You can then raise your arms up overhead and stand up to make this more of a full body stretch or you can straighten your legs and go back into the hamstring stretch before standing back up.
6. Standing Quad Stretch with Reach:
Standing on the right foot, grab the left ankle with the left hand.
Pull the left heel in to your butt while keeping the leg close to the standing leg and the knee pointing toward the ground.
As you stretch the quad, reach the right hand up and back toward the ceiling.
You should feel a nice stretch not only down your quad but also across your entire body. This will even open up your chest and lat after sitting all day at a computer.
Hold for 1-2 seconds and then step forward and do the stretch on the other side.
7. Standing Hamstring and IT Band Stretch:
Standing, cross your left leg over your right leg. Bring the left foot over and across until the big toe is even with the big toe of the right foot.
You want your feet even so that your front leg (the left leg) is pressing the back leg (right leg) straight during the stretch.
Clasp your hands together and reach up overhead. Get a nice big stretch. Then bend forward, reaching the hands down to the ground.
To stretch your hamstrings, reach straight down toward the ground, keeping your legs as straight as possible while reaching as far as possible. Hold for 1-2 seconds. Then relax and step forward to repeat on the other side.
To stretch your IT Band and even hit your glute while still stretching your hamstring, reach up and then reach your hands down and across to the instep of the back foot.
Allow your hip to go out to the side so that you feel a nice stretch down the outside of your butt.
Relax, step forward and repeat on the other side.
8. Plank with Reach Back and Out:
Beginners can do this move from their knees while more advanced exercisers will do this from their toes.
To do this from your knees, set up at the top of a push up. Your hands should be under your shoulders right outside your chest and your body should be in a nice straight line down to your knees.
Then reach your right hand back and through your legs, as you sit your butt back on your heels.
Come back forward into the plank position, but do not put your hand down. Instead, reach your hand out as far in front of you as you can.
Drop your hips a bit toward the ground and feel your abs engage to stabilize. Do not rotate as you reach. Keep your hips and shoulders level and facing the ground.
After extending out, reach back through your legs and repeat all reps on that side before switching.
To do this move from your toes, set up on your toes with your feet between hip-width and shoulder-width apart. The closer they are together, the harder the move.
Your hands should be outside your chest and under your shoulders.
Reach your right hand back toward your right ankle, letting your butt go up in the air as if you are almost doing a one-handed downward dog.
Then extend that arm out and reach straight out past your head. Bring your hips down toward the ground and feel your core engage. Do not let your hips rotate.
After extending out, reach back toward the opposite ankle. Repeat all reps before switching sides.
9. Dive-bomber Push Up:
This move can be done from the knees by beginners or from the toes by more advanced exercisers.
To do this from the knees, set up at the top of a push up with your hands outside your chest and your body in a straight line down to your knees.
Sit back onto your heels as if doing a child’s pose stretch. Keep your hands in their original position.
Then start to move forward back into the push up position, but keep your head and chest close to the ground as you go forward.
Keep your upper body as close to the ground until your chest is in between your hands.
Arch, opening your chest up toward the ceiling as if you are doing upward facing dog.
Get a nice stretch at the top, making sure to press down through your palms and elongate your neck. Do not let your shoulders shrug up by your ears.
Hold for a second and then sit back into the child’s pose stretch and repeat.
To advance this move, set up on your hands and toes. Hands should be just outside the chest and your feet should be together or about hip-width apart.
Push back into a downward dog pose.
Start to move back forward, keeping the chest and head as close to the ground as possible.
As your chest passes through your hands, arch up and move into an upward facing dog stretch.
Hold for a second and then move back into the downward dog stretch.
10. Kneeling Bridge:
Start by kneeling on both legs with your feet flexed.
Sit back and place your hands on your heels.
Then arch up off your heels and press your chest out, keeping your hands on your heels. Relax your head back and arch as much as you can, getting a nice stretch down your chest, core, hips and quads.
Hold for 1-2 seconds and relax back down. Repeat.
If you are less flexible, do this stretch with a couch, chair or table behind you. Kneel down and place your hands back behind you on the couch or table.
Press your chest out and arch as much as possible away from the piece behind you while leaning your head back.
Then relax back down and repeat.
11. Lying Chest and Thoracic Stretch:
This stretch will hit your low and upper back as well as your chest if done correctly.
Lie on your back with a foam roller or ball to your right side.
Bend your left knee to about 90 degrees and pull it across your body. Place your knee on the roller or ball.
Place your right hand on top of your knee to hold your knee onto the ball.
Reach your left hand across your body and touch the floor on the right side with your palm.
Then open that arm back up to the left side, trying to touch the back of the hand down to the ground. Try to open up the chest as much as possible without letting the knee move from the roller or ball.
Hold for a second or two and then bring the hand back across and repeat. Complete all reps on that side before switching.
12. Standing Thoracic Stretch:
Stand against a wall. Make sure to press your butt and back into the wall.
Bend your arms and place the back of your hands against the wall right outside your head.
Keeping your back firmly against the wall and your core tight, slide the back of your hands up the wall as far as possible. Then slide them back down.
Don’t slide them up further if your back is arching off the wall. Repeat and each time try to get higher up the wall.
13. Wring out the Towel:
Standing with your feet about hip-width apart, bring your arms up to shoulder height with your thumbs pointing forward.
Then rotate your left hand, pointing the thumb down and then backward so that your palm is facing up. Your whole arm should rotate and the shoulder should rotate forward.
As you rotate the left thumb down and back, turn the right thumb up and back so the right palm is also facing up. You should be rotating the right shoulder back and open. Your body should also turn and open a bit to the right.
Then switch hands, rotating your body a bit to the left as your left shoulder rotates back and your right shoulder rotates forward.
Keep alternating till all reps are complete.
14. Wrist Stretch:
Kneeling on the ground, place your hands in front of you under your shoulders, fingertips pointing forward. Depending upon your flexibility, you may need to move them back toward your knees a bit.
Then rotate your fingertips back toward your knees with your palms flat on the ground.
Rock back and sit on your heels as much as possible without letting the heels of your hands come up. Then rock back forward.
Repeat and each time try to get a bigger range of motion.
You can also do a variation of this move on your hands and knees where you have your palms down and your fingertips pointing out to the right and the left.
Keeping as much pressure on your hands as possible, flip your hands over so that the backs of your hands are down and your fingertips are pointing in toward each other.
Flip your hands back and forth until all reps are completed.
15. Neck and Trap Stretch:
Lower your right ear toward your right shoulder.
Reach your left hand behind your back and grab it with your right hand. Gently pull your left arm to the right while keeping your head tilted to the right side.
Do not shrug your right shoulder up.
As you gentle pull on your left arm, look straight ahead and then look up toward the ceiling and down toward the ground. Hold each stretch for only a second or two.
Relax and switch sides. Keep alternating sides until all reps are completed.
Bonus full-body move: (For those times when you are shorter on time and want to make sure everything is warm!)
360 Lunges with arm drivers
You can lunge in every and any direction. Pick a 4-5 to start with on each side.
Do a lunge in each direction with no arm movement to start.
Then add on the reach down to the ground and up toward the ceiling.
After completing all the lunges with the up and down reach, add in a side-to-side reach as well.
Check back soon for a warm up guide on locomotion!