How To Effectively Warm-up With Dynamic Stretching

How do you know you are getting the most out of your pre-workout or pre-game warm-up? If you know how to effectively warm-up with dynamic stretching, you’re putting yourself in the best position to have a great workout and stay injury free.

Dynamic stretching is always done before a workout or athletic event. It involves performing movements closely related to the movements that will be performed during the following activity. The warm-up routine typically lasts 10-20 minutes. It starts off at a low intensity and works up to a higher intensity. This has become a more and more popular teaching point with personal trainers and strength coaches. Why? Because there have been multiple studies that show this type of warm-up and stretching better prepares the muscles to be explosive during workouts and competition. Many of you may be thinking that you are not a college or professional athlete, so you don’t need to worry about doing a dynamic warm-up. The fact is, if it’s good enough to benefit some of the fittest athletes at universities and professional clubs around the world, then there is no reason the benefits of dynamic stretching could not be shared by everyone.

The dynamic stretching routine is active and usually imitates the movements that will be done during your workout. This increases temperature in your muscles. Think of your muscles as a diesel engine. The colder it is outside, the longer you have to let it sit and warm its self up before you drive anywhere. If your muscles temperature is not raised they will not function as effectively under high intensity stress.

Due to the progressive movement of the warm-up and the increase in temperature, your muscles will gain elasticity. When we were kids most of us played with either clay or play dough at some point. If you remember, when you first started squeezing it, both would be pretty firm. As you rolled it around in your hand and the temperature increased in the play dough or clay, it would get easier to shape and squeeze. This is the same concept for muscles. As they get warmer they get more mobile and easier to work with. One of the greatest benefits of this is the decrease in chance of injury. Just think, if your muscles are more elastic they will be more willing to accept any movement that you want them to.

The full body movements performed in the dynamic routine increases your heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood flow. During an intense workout all of these factors will be going at a higher rate than when you are resting. The all effect one another starting with your heart. As you increase your intensity in the warm-up the body needs more oxygen. The heart has to increase its pumping rate to get more blood going through the lungs to pick up oxygen. If your lungs are working harder you will breath faster to get rid of all the carbon dioxide and take in more oxygen. Since your muscles need more oxygen to work at a higher clip, the blood flow has to increase to the muscles that are doing the most of the work. The heart has the most involvement in this whole process. I wouldn’t recommend just jumping right into an intense activity and shocking your heart and muscles. If you treat your heart right, it will treat you right. The progressive dynamic stretch routine gradually lets your heart know that needs to start picking up the pace.

When you are doing this warm-up I recommend that you focus more on the muscles that will be under the most stress during the workout. You can also simulate similar movements that will be taking place. For example if you are doing a workout that involves legs and shoulders, you want to concentrate on those muscle groups. Here is a list of some exercises that you can include in your dynamic stretch routine:

Legs

  • straight let kicks
  • walking lunges
  • short jog
  • Backwards run
  • Butt kicks
  • High knees
  • Walking on toes
  • Inch worm

Hips

  • Figure-4 walk
  • Leg swings
  • Hurdle walks
  • Saigon squat
  • Spider crawl

Upper body

  • Arm circles
  • Self hugs
  • Torso twist

Core

  • plank

It’s so important to know how to effectively warm-up with dynamic stretching before you start exercising. I hope this gave you some ideas on how to implement a warm-up routine into your workouts. If you have any friends that don’t warm-up properly tell them about it or post this on their facebook. You may be keeping someone from pulling a muscle, you never know.

Adam Pegg About Adam Pegg

Adam is an athlete with a serious passion for fitness and health. He played basketball at University of Delaware and Stetson. His degree is in health science and he's a certified personal trainer who loves helping people reach their goals.

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