My 15 minute Dynamic Warm-Up Routine
Do YOU warm-up before you workout?
A decent warm-up has become a critical piece of my workout routine. It's 15 minutes to get in the zone both physically AND mentally. Plus, regular use has seemed to increase my overall mobility! This is fantastic news if you're a clutz who drops her phone all the time like yours truly.
Oddly, stretching is a bit of a controversy among fitness gurus. In my course of research, I was unable to find a single warm-up routine that was unanimously agreed upon as "best"! Over time, I've settled on a conglomerate of different methods. You'll notice I don't include much static stretching. Despite the variety of opinions available, there's a substantial amount of research that suggests that static stretching actually decreases the explosive capacity of our muscles and should be reserved for your post-workout cool down (Pegg). I primarily use dynamic stretching in my routine. Instead of holding a still position as with static stretching, dynamic stretches are movements that take the joints and muscles through a full range of motion (Chertoff).
I use this warm-up before all types of exercise- lifting, running, and it can even be used before a barre or yoga class. A decent warm-up need not be complicated nor take a long time; 10-15 minutes is all! Grab a light resistance band, head to an open space, and let’s get started.
1. I always begin with 3-5 minutes of light cardio- I typically use an elliptical or stair master machine. If you don’t have a machine available to you (like if you're about to do an outdoor run), you can always do butt-kicks (think exaggerated jogging in-place) or jump rope.
Next up, stretching!
The following 3 videos are my entire mobility routine, start to finish. SUPA-FAST
Each movement is explained in detail below
2. Arm circles: 6 forward, 6 backward, repeat on opposite arm.
3. Resistance band pass-through: Now grab your resistance band with one hand at each end, spread band apart as you pass it over and behind your head to your back, return to front. Repeat this 10-12 times.
4. Pull-aparts: With band still in your hands, stretch out across chest, pull band apart as you do, repeat 10-12 times.
5. Lat side stretch: Spend about 10-15 seconds stretching each side
6. Arm swings: Drop the band and perform a couple arm swings across your chest.
7. Push-ups: I usually do 12-15. Key here is to get warm, not winded!
8. Spider steps: While still on the floor, take a large step forward with the right leg, hold for 12 seconds, step back, repeat with left leg.
9. Toe touch hamstring stretch: Stand up, bend forward at the hips, and give your hamstrings a light stretch- don't force yourself down to your toes if you're not flexible enough yet!
10. Leg swings: Perform 12 forward leg swings, 12 side leg swings, repeat on opposite leg.
11. Hip circles: Perform 12 hip circles on each side.
12. Lunges: 12 body-weight forward lunges on each side
13. Squats: 12 body-weight squats
Remember that when lifting, it's imperative to also complete warm-up sets for each body part being trained!
I use the following scheme for my warm up sets:
Set 1: 10 reps with barbell or very light dumbbells
Set 2: 8 reps @ 60-65% of working weight
Set 3: 5 reps @70-75% of working weight
Set 4: 3 reps @80-85% of working weight
Set 5: 1 rep @ 90-95% of working weight
Keep in mind that the warm-up routine makes for a great rest day activity as well! Used in combination with massage or foam rolling, this routine is an easy way promote muscle recovery.
Happy muscles, happy bees!
Chertoff, J. (2019, May 23). Dynamic Stretching: Benefits, When to Use, Examples, and More. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/dynamic-stretching#What-is-dynamic-stretching?-
Pegg, A. (2013, May 13). Be Aware Of The Positives And Negatives Of Static Stretching. Retrieved from http://steadystrength.com/be-aware-of-the-positives-and-negatives-of-static-stretching/