Warm Up Exercises: The Best Way To Start Warming Up - Kali Coaching
warm up exercises

If you’ve ever exercised, you know the importance of a dynamic warm-up. If you want to perform your best, your body must be ready for exercise. But we still see people do a 3–5 minute warm-up on a bike, bend over and touch their toes a couple of times, then jump right into the workout. And sometimes not even that!

My favorite scene is the guy who walks in, throws his bag by the mirrors, then grabs the dumbbells and immediately starts doing curls. Bam, ready! Bring on the weights for some destruction!

I still laugh whenever I see this guy! That’s probably not you, but it’s still good to know why you should be warming up first. That’s why I’m going to teach you about the “active dynamic warm-up” and how it helps you lift more, run faster, and perform better! Let’s warm up!

Why an Active Dynamic Warm-Up?

If you’ve ever played sports, served in the military, or participated in a dance class, you more than likely had to do some kind of warm-up, the point of which was to elevate your heart rate and prepare you for exercise. Some of you might have done static stretching in the past, but that’s since been proven ineffective and detrimental to sports performance.

The goal of any warm-up is to be physically and mentally prepared for a workout. You want your body warm, muscles loose, and joints lubricated. You also need a better range of motion and the mentality that you’ll perform your best! An important role of the warm-up that’s often overlooked is getting into the right mindset. We all get distracted, but this is the time to focus!

Did You Say “Lift More, Run Faster, and Perform Better”?

Yes! Multiple studies have shown the following benefits of warming up:

  1. Dynamic warm-ups beat out static and PNF-style warm-ups for peak muscle output.
  2. Dynamic warm-ups help you jump higher and have a positive impact on performance.
  3. Dynamic warm-ups improve sprint performance more than just static stretching or static and dynamic stretching combined.
  4. Dynamic warm-ups produce longer sustained enhancements in power, strength, muscular endurance, anaerobic capacity, and agility compared to static stretching.

Bottom line: If you want to perform better in the weight room, on the open road, or in a competition, a dynamic warm-up will better prepare your body and give you better results.

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Components of a Dynamic Warm-Up

Now that you know which type of warm-up to perform, the next question is how to perform a dynamic warm-up. Let’s look at the basic components first, then put everything together at the end.

Foam Rolling

Almost every session with my students starts with a foam roller. Although there’s a lot of debate over foam rolling (more information here), I’ve found it to be a great way to wake up the body before a warm-up.

Mobility

Next, we move on to mobility exercises. I really enjoy incorporating animal movements into my warm-up, as they require good control of your body. You become aware of your body and improve the range of motion in your hips and shoulders. Think the “crab walk” from gym class in grade school.

Strength

By adding bodyweight strength movements to your warm-up, you can increase your relative strength before moving into weighted exercises. It also allows you to do push-ups to prepare for bench press or bodyweight squats. This is an excellent time to do single leg exercises like walking lunges.

Activation Exercises

These could be considered strength exercises, but I like to think of them slightly differently. These are the exercises that activate your shoulders, back, legs, glutes, hips, and core. I like to perform these with an isometric hold to really activate and stabilize the body, like doing a glute bridge with a 10- to 15-second pause over ten repetitions.

Explosive Movements

Finally, to stimulate the central nervous system, add a shuffle movement, forward jumps, or walking high kicks. This will prime the CNS for future weights and considerably increase your heart rate after the previous exercises.

Putting It All Together

I know this all looks overwhelming, but it’s simple once you break it down. Incorporate whichever exercises will benefit your exercise for the day; there’s no one warm-up that covers everything, so see what works for you!

If you need help setting up a routine, start by structuring your warm-up like this:

Foam Roll                                                5 Mins

Animal Mobility Exercise                     12–15 steps
Strength Exercise                                   8–10 reps
Unilateral Leg Strength Exercise        5 reps per leg
Activation Exercise                                10 reps

(Rest for 1–2 minutes)

Animal Mobility Exercise                     12–15 steps
Strength Exercise                                   8–10 reps
Activation Exercise                                10 reps
Explosive Exercise                                 30 seconds

This routine, including the five minutes of foam rolling, averages 9–10 minutes for one warm-up. This makes it easy for anyone to try before a workout and see positive results!

Still confused? Here’s a follow-along warm-up! I’ll be with you every step of the way!

Do you practice a dynamic warm-up before exercising? How does it affect your training? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below, and be sure to share this article with your friends!

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About the Author Jay Kali

Jay Kali AKA, The Strength Architect is the founder of Kali Coaching. He holds certifications as a Specialist in Strength and Conditioning, Certified Fitness Trainer, Online Trainers Academy Graduate, Training For Warriors Level 2 Graduate and is a 300-Certified Yoga Teacher in Power Yoga. He is also an Amazon Bestselling Author in four different categories and has made it his mission to help women create long lasting, healthy lifestyles in just 8 weeks!

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