The Dynamic Warmup You Should Do Before Every Workout

Get your body ready for any type of exercise with this movement-focused warmup routine.

December 27, 2016
Reverse lunge and reachback
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Adapted from Dr. Jordan Metzl's Workout Prescription

Before any workout, perform a dynamic warmup for 3 minutes—six exercises, 30 seconds each. Then you'll rest for a minute and start the main workout. The reason? A dynamic warmup is designed to prepare your body for the work ahead. You're pumping blood, warming up your muscles and connective tissue, and sending game-on signals to your brain.

More: A 30-Minute Total-Body Basic Workout to Get Your Heart Pumping

In this case, dynamic simply means "movement"—the exercises are very basic and designed to get you in motion, ready to sweat, and a little bit out of breath.

You've probably heard the comparison that a cold muscle is like a frozen rubber band—pull it too hard and it'll snap. But the dynamic warmup isn't just about preventing injury (though that is important to a guy like me). It's also about getting the most out of the workout ahead. You see, if a muscle is ready for the job it's asked to do, it will do the job more powerfully and more efficiently and, in the end, allow you to perform better overall. 

More: How to Get the Most Out of Every Workout

You want to be at your best when you work out. The dynamic warmup helps get you there. Just refer back to this page to see the exercises (after a couple of sessions, you'll have them memorized).

And here they are! Perform each for 30 seconds before you begin your regular workout.

Jumping jacks
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Jumping jacks

Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Simultaneously raise your extended arms above your head and jump up just enough to spread your feet out wide. Without pausing, quickly reverse the movement and repeat. Keep your ankles locked by pulling your toes up, and bounce on the balls of your feet.

More: Your Guide to Foot Pain & How to Treat It

Pogo hop
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Pogo hop

Stand in an athletic stance with your feet hip-width apart and your arms bent around 90 degrees. Keeping your body upright, repeatedly jump up, allowing only your feet to move a few inches from the floor. Keep your ankles locked, toes flexed up, and floor contact on the balls of your feet.

Gate swing
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Gate swing

Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Drop into a squat by pushing your hips back and lowering your body toward the floor, while keeping your back upright. As you lower yourself, hop your feet wider with your toes pointing outward, and gently press your hands on your inner thighs to open your knees as far as you can to facilitate the stretch. Hop back up to the starting position and repeat.

More: 3 Ways Working Out Could Make You Wealthier

Hip swing
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Hip swing

Stand tall and hold on to a sturdy object with your left hand. Brace your core. Keep your left knee straight, and swing your left leg forward as high as you comfortably can. Then, swing it backward as far as you can. That's 1 rep. Swing back and forth continuously. Complete all your reps, then do the same with your other leg.

Reverse lunge and reachback
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Reverse lunge and reachback

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step backward with your right leg, and lower your body until your left knee is bent at least 90 degrees. Once in this position, reach your arms up and back toward your left shoulder. Press back up to a standing position, and then step back with your left leg, this time reaching toward your right. 

More: 7 Foam Rolling Moves for a DIY Massage

Inchworm
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Inchworm

Stand tall with your legs straight. Bend over and touch the floor. Keeping your legs straight, walk your hands forward as far as you can without letting your hips sag. Then take tiny steps to walk your feet to your hands. That's 1 repetition.

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