Exercise Rescue: Warm-Up to Stay in the Game

Ever started your car on a cold morning, then immediately backed out the driveway, slam on the breaks, and floored it out onto the street?…No?¬†I didn’t think so. ¬†So why do that to your body??

Crazy thing is, I see at the gym all the time.  People walk in off the street, and immediately lift a heavy weight.  Not properly prepping your body for your workout is a recipe for disaster.  I realize most people live extremely busy lives, and that gym time is at a premium.  As a trainer, I get it, sometimes you only have 30 minutes for a workout.  So who wants to spend 10 of them warming up?  My hope is, that by reading this, it will become apparent that a dynamic warmup is a MUST HAVE in your fitness program.

What is a Dynamic Warmup

Think of a dynamic warmup as prepping the engine before you hit the road.  A dynamic warmup  a series of controlled, athletics movements  that prepare the body to perform certain desired tasks.  These tasks are could include sprinting, lifting weights, or performing a sport.  It is something that should be done before your workout.  We will also  be discussing dynamic stretching, which we will consider as part of the dynamic warmup family.

                                      One of my faves: Worlds Greatest Stretch 

                                      One of my faves: Worlds Greatest Stretch

Common Dynamic Warmup Exercises

Here is a are some common dynamic warmup exercises. Of course, these can all be modified to your preferences, and to the demands of the task you are performing.

  • ¬†Knee Hugs
  • Arm circles
  • Hamstring walks
  • Body Weight squats
  • Lunges (forward and lateral)
  • High knees
  • Lateral Shuffles or Lateral hops

Notice how the exercises progress in intensity. ¬†They start slowly (knee hugs), and eventually progress to a higher intensity (high knees). ¬†Your warmup should follow that pattern.¬†Your heart rate should be elevated when you’re done. ¬† These exercises can also be done in place, so space should not be a barrier.

Static Stretching  vs. Dynamic Stretching

A static stretch is a stretch that is held of a predetermined amount of time. Thus the term static. ¬†You ain’t goin anywhere. ¬†Think of reaching down and touching your toes for 30 seconds. ¬†Static stretching is also very common in yoga. Although this post focuses on the benefits of a dynamic warmup and dynamic stretching, static stretching still has benefits. ¬†Static stretching has been shown to improve range of motion when held for long duration of time. ¬† So great news for all you yogi’s out there!

Dynamic stretching is basically stretching w/ movement.  For example, instead of just reach down and touching your toes for 30 seconds, try a hamstring walk (video below).  Besides simply stretching your hamstrings, this exercise also stretches the calf, activates the glutes and hamstrings, and coordinates your movements in a way that better prepares you for your workout.

Dynamic Warmup Benefits

Now that we know a little more about the dynamic warmup, lets talk about some of the benefits. The benefits of a dynamic warmup are many.  These benefits include:

As you can see, ¬†there is some obvious application here. ¬†Who wouldn’t want these benefits?…¬†Whether you are a serious athlete, or just someone looking to get in shape, a dynamic warmup clearly helps your performance. ¬†It something that doesn’t take a lot of time, and the return is well worth the investment,

Part of performance is staying healthy. ¬†And adding a dynamic warmup will aid in that….Like I tell my athletes, it doesn’t matter how strong or fast you are, if you can’t stain the game….Happy moving everyone!

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