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A Dynamic Warm-Up before Exercise and Athletic Training

The warm-up has become one of the most overlooked parts of athletes’ training and pre-competition routines, but could pay big dividends on the back end and improve performance. Ryan Moore, physical therapist at The Queen’s Center for Sports Medicine, shares what goes into a dynamic warm-up.

What is a “dynamic warm-up”?

Ryan Moore, PT, DPT: A dynamic warm-up consists of several exercises performed by the athlete to adequately prepare the body for exercise. The main goals are to improve active flexibility of muscles and connective tissue and awaken the neuromuscular system, while increasing the body’s awareness, heart rate, blood flow and body temperature. 

These exercises are often performed with short, purposeful movements, as opposed to static stretches that are held for 30 seconds or longer.

What exercises can be done as part of a dynamic warm-up?

Ryan Moore, PT, DPT: There are many variations to a dynamic warm-up and it can be customized to an individual or sport.

Here is a simple dynamic warm-up that can be done when the athlete is tight on space without the luxury of spreading out, like at a crowded race or busy gym.

Repeat the following sequence 10 times on each side, alternating between the left and the right leg.

Step 1: Standing Figure 4

From a standing position, lift the left ankle onto the right knee just above the knee cap.
Slowly bend the standing leg, applying slight pressure to the left knee while keeping the hips square and back straight.
Drop down into the stretch.
Hold for 2-3 seconds. 

Step 2: Knee Hug with Heel Raise

Stand straight back up.
Grab the left knee and hug it to the body and raise up onto the toes on the right (standing) leg.
Hold for 2-3 seconds. 

Step 3: Ankle Pull

Grab the front of the left ankle.
Pull the ankle behind and away from the body, keeping the hips square and back straight.
Hold for 2-3 seconds. 

Step 4: Reverse Lunge with Thoracic (Upper Back) Rotation

Step back with the left foot into a reverse lunge, while placing the left hand onto the ground next to the right foot.
Slowly twist the upper body to the right, reaching for the sky with the right hand.
Hold for 2-3 seconds. 

Step 5: Drinking Bird

Slowly stand up and straighten out the left leg behind the body.
Bend forward from the waist, reaching for the floor with both hands.
Hold for 2-3 seconds. 

Include this dynamic warm-up into any work-out or training routine to prepare the body for activity and be ready to win the day in no time!

The Queen’s Center for Sports Medicine provides comprehensive care for the treatment and prevention of sports injuries and conditions in athletes and active people of all ages. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 808-691-4449 or request an appointment online.