Dynamic Warmup

Goals for any dynamic warmup:

  • Increase core body temperature for increased blood flow and improved muscle flexibility.
  • Dynamic movements that increase ROM and movement of the lower extremity, commonly utilized in sports.
  • Activation of hip and trunk muscles in weight bearing positions to prepare for sports.
  • Training specific.

Following is an example of our sequence of dynamic warmups. The whole routine should take no longer than 10-15 min to complete, making it easy to add on to the start of any sport. Before you do the sequence:

  • Only reach as far as you are comfortable and until you feel a slight stretch. These exercises are meant to warm you up, not contort you or produce a big stretch. Distance and speed is not important.
  • If you are injured, ask the advice of a physical therapist before commencing.

Our sample of dynamic warmup sequence:

20 yard skipping – Skip with high knees for 20 yards.

Forward overhead reach lunge 10 yards – Lunge and step forward with opposite arm reaching up 10 yards.

Backward overhead reach lunge 10 yards – Lunge and step backwards with opposite arm reaching up 10 yards.

Lateral reach lunge right and left 10 yards – Lunge to the side and reach your hands to the opposite foot until you feel a stretch on your groin or hamstring. Alternate sides and rotate your torso as you reach.

Crossover reach right and left 10 yards – Facing sideways on the track, the front leg is the leg that is stepping sideways. Cross the back leg behind you. With the back arm, reach up.

Tin man 10 yards – With knees relatively straight, kick up and reach the opposite hand towards the toe until you feel a stretch in your calf.

Spiderman 10 yards – Create a long lunge pointing knee towards the elbow. Step forward with the opposite hand and alternate knee to elbow. Only go so far as you feel a slight stretch in your hip flexors, your low back and your groin.

Inchworm 10 yards – Fold over like a ragdoll and walk hands forward until you are in a plank. Arch your back up, belly to the ground. Slowly, reverse your spine and walk your toes towards your hands. Repeat.

Carioca 10 yards and 5 yard run out – Jump sideways with back foot threading behind you and then in front of you. Sprint out after 10 yards. Switch direction.

Back pedal 10 yards and 5 yard run out – In a stable and partial squat, run backwards then when you reach the 10 yard mark, spin around with control and sprint out. Tense your core as you start to sprint.

Shuffling right and left 10 yards and 5 yard run out – In a stable and partial squat, shuffle sideways and sprintout after reaching the 10 yard mark. Tense your core before sprinting out.

Significance of Dynamic Warmup:

  • Warm-ups help with neuromuscular activation and prevents injuries. In a study by LaBella et al, there was a 56% decrease in injuries in athletes compared to a control group with no dynamic warmup.
  • Warm-ups and cardiovascular exercise help significantly increase joint range of motion and decrease muscle stiffness in preparation for a sport. Compared with foam rolling, results are far superior with dynamic warmups.


LaBella et al. Effect of Neuromuscular Warm-up on Injuries in Female Soccer & Basketball Athletes in Urban Public Schools. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Med. 165 (11), Nov 2011.

Morales-Artacho et al. Effects of warm-up on hamstring muscles stiffness: cycling vs foam rolling. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 2017 Jan 6. doi: 10.1111/sms.12832

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