Why you should be doing this dynamic warm-up

Gone are the days when the acceptable way to prepare for a workout was to reach down to touch your toes for a few seconds and take off. Nowadays, it’s all about preparing your body with “dynamic” warm-ups. Today, I’m going to tell you why and how you can do a dynamic warm-up on your own before each and every one of your workouts, and you’ll see I’m wearing some fashionable new athletic apparel to do it …

Ashley in PUMA XT for A Lady Goes WestHey, that’s me in some new PUMA kicks, pants and a top on a sunny day in the Bay.

What is a dynamic warm-up?

A “dynamic” warm-up is a set of moving stretches, designed to do the following:

  • Activate the muscles that you’ll be using during your workout in multiple planes of motion
  • Get the blood flowing to your muscles and prepare your body for movement
  • Increase your range of motion before your workout
  • Ignite and fire up your coordination, balance and body awareness before your workout, so you can move better and smarter

When and why should you do a dynamic warm-up?

You can do an effective and efficient dynamic warm-up in just a couple of minutes before every single workout. And once you get into the habit, you may see that you’re ultimately feeling better and more limber during your workouts. Performing moves to prepare your body for a workout, also puts you in the position to get more out of your workouts.

Essentially a dynamic warm-up should include versions of the moves that you will be doing in your workout that day, but also include work in every direction (front-to-back, side-to-side and rotational). Runners, dancers, athletes and the everyday-worker-outer will all benefit from a dynamic warm-up routine. And you can even do your own dynamic warm-up before taking group fitness classes.

I try to start all of my workouts with a little “movement prep” and part of that is always a dynamic warm-up. I start with about five minutes of foam rolling, complete about five minutes of dynamic warm-up moves and then get busy with the workout at-hand. Since learning to do dynamic warm-ups, I’ve seen my flexibility and mobility increase quite a bit, which feels great. (You can also visit “how to foam roll” and “how to do mobility moves” to learn more.)

The five dynamic warm-up moves you should be doing

There are tons of great dynamic warm-up moves out there, but today I’m narrowing it down to five of my favorites. And these are the ones I do most frequently. 

Knee grabs

You can do these standing in one place or do them moving forward. This move warms up your legs, glutes, hips and more.

Knee grab dynamic warm-up via A Lady Goes West

Set-up: Stand with your feet hip-width. Chest up. Shoulders back. Core braced. Lift your right knee up toward your chest and hug both of your arms around that knee, pulling it in toward your body and a bit toward your right shoulder. Put that leg back down and repeat on the left side. Do about 10 knee grabs on each side. Make sure you keep your upper-body upright and lifted, with your back straight.

Alternating front kicks

You can do these standing in one place or do them moving forward, which is sometimes called a “Frankenstein” walk. This move warms up your legs, glutes, hips, shoulders and more.

Front kicks dynamic warm-up via A Lady Goes West

Set-up: Stand with your feet hip-width. Chest up. Shoulders back. Core braced. Lift up and kick your right leg straight out in front of you, while keeping your chest up. Reach your left arm out long and touch your right toe. Return to set. Repeat on the other side. Basically, you are reaching out to touch the opposite foot each time. Make sure you keep your upper-body lifted, leg straight and heels down. Do about 10 kicks on each side. 

Arm circles

You can also do these using a resistance tube, which is usually called the “shoulder dislocates” and is a great mobility move. This move, with just your bodyweight alone and no equipment, warms up the chest, shoulder girdle, arms and back.

Arm swings dynamic warm-up via A Lady Goes West

Set-up: Stand with your feet hip-width. Chest up. Shoulders back. Core braced. Put your arms out in front of you, then take them up above your shoulders and back behind your body, in a big circular motion. Keep your arms straight and shoulders back and down the whole time. You should do about 10 arm circles to the front and 10 arm circles to the back.

Leg swings

You can do these standing still or you can go against a wall or structure to keep your balance. This move warms up your legs and hips. 

Leg swings dynamic warm-up via A Lady Goes West

Set-up: Stand with your hip-width. Shoulders back. Chest up. Core braced. Kick your left leg out to the side, keeping it nice and straight. Then swing your left leg back in front of your body, crossing the right standing leg and pointing the toe down. Repeat 10 times on the left. Then do 10 times on the right. Make sure you keep your upper-body lifted up and don’t lean to one side.

Reverse lunge and twist

You can do this one standing still with a reverse lunge or do it walking as a forward lunge. This move warms up the legs, glutes, hips, core, back and more.

Reverse lunge dynamic warm-up via A Lady Goes West

Set-up: Stand with your feet hip-width. Shoulders back. Chest up. Core braced. Step back long with your right foot, bending your right knee toward the ground, about one inch away from the ground. Bend your elbows at your shoulder-height in front of your body, so your hands touch in front of your chest. Twist your body, leading with your chest over your left leg. Your eyes should follow your movement. Twist back to the center, then step your right foot back up to hip-width and repeat on the other side. Do about ten lunges on each side. Make sure you keep your upper-body lifted and your front knee at a 90-degree angle. It’s okay to step back longer than you would during a normal lunge in this warm-up move to get better range of motion.

There you have it. In just a few minutes, your body will be prepped and primed for nearly anything, and by the time you’re done warming up, you’ll likely already have a little body-heat brewing.

(I also really like the inchworm, walk-out to spider lunge and hip bridge moves, which you can Google at your leisure, if you need more.)

Details on my PUMA look

Thanks to my role as a FitFluential Ambassador, I was recently given a chance to try out the brand new PUMA XT Geo sneakers and other PUMA gear that you see featured above. Not only did I do some dynamic warm-up moves in this outfit, but I also wore the shoes to teach and take an Orangetheory class, in addition to other workouts. The shoes are super comfortable and perfect for weight-training. And the leggings and top are incredibly stylish. I know they will be making a regular appearance in my line-up.

Ashley in PUMA XT gear via A Lady Goes West

Here’s more information on what I’m wearing …

  • Watch Me Leave Studio Tee – Made with dryCELL fabric to keep you dry during workouts, with a trendy scoop back for extra air-flow. This loose-fitting top is perfect for layering. I don’t normally do crop-tops, but I like this one.
  • Clash Long Tights – Made with dryCELL moisture-wicking fabric to keep you comfortable during workouts, with a cool mesh interior waistband for tummy support. The pattern on these pants is just awesome. They are unlike anything I’ve ever owned before and truly fit like a glove. And they feel very high quality.
  • Pulse XT Geo Sneakers – A light-weight trainer for indoor or outdoor workouts with a breathable fabric on the upper portion and a flexible and resilient footbed. This is a versatile shoe with a rubber outsole. Dave says these are my “coolest” sneakers ever. And he’s a shoe guy, so that’s a big deal. I’d say I agree.

And for all of you out there who tend to skip over the warm-up before your sweat session, I challenge you to spend a few minutes doing some of this movement prep and see if it benefits your workouts. That’s it for today, folks. Have a fabulous day, and I’ll see you back here soon!

What's your warm-up routine look like? Here's the dynamic warm-up you could be doing to improve performance ... Click To Tweet

Please note: This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA. 

Questions of the day

Do you ever take the time to warm up and cool down?

What are your favorite dynamic warm-up moves?

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41 Comments

  1. Thanks for the warm up! I’ll definitly be giving that a go as I mostly work out at home in front of my tv and I find that some of the DVD’s I do skimp on that part. Or perhaps I just find it hard to get going first thing in the morning!

    I was wondering if there is a particular type of shoe you would recomend for working out on carpet? I do a lot of HIIT and bootcamp style workouts. I go back and forth between bare feet (jumps are a bit hard of my feet and I lack some grip) and my cross trainers (not so very nice on my carpet).

    1. Hi Kathryn, I do NOT like to jump without wearing shoes, however for bodyweight workouts with no jumps, I prefer bare feet for sure on the carpet. I would suggest that you wear a light shoe for all carpet work with more impact, because you don’t want the cushy shoe to get caught in carpet and somehow compromise your ankle. Also a flat sole on the bottom outside, with no traction or grippers. The traction may get stuck. Nice work on getting all your workouts done one carpet (assuming at home??)) Good luck to you! Have a wonderful day! πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks! I’m not able to go as hard without shoes so I’ll definitly be looking for the type you suggested!

  2. I include dynamic moves in every workout I teach. I typically make them a bit more cardio based, just to get the heart rate up, too. We definitely move side to side and rotate as well! These are great demonstrations. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Heather! Yes for sure, after a few of these moves, I’m usually already pretty warm. But in group fitness classes, we don’t have the time to do them all – so it’s great to jump into moves that are more cardio-based — sometimes the members don’t want to feel like the lead-up to class is too slow, right? Hope you’re doing well!! Thanks for sharing this one, of course, lady! πŸ™‚

  3. I actually do dynamic workouts before every workout. I didn’t before my injury but learned the hard way my body needs that warming up to stay limber and open. It’s helped a lot. I also stretch with yoga moves after.

    1. Yes, so glad you see the light, Megan. It’s not always fun and takes time, but it sure is good for the body! Happy Tuesday, lady! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Susie! Good ones! For sure! And runners SOOOO need these warm-ups, so I’m glad to hear you do them. Hope all is well, lady! Happy Tuesday!

  4. This is practically the EXACT warm-up in the 21 Day Fix Extreme program! Yay! Good to know I am doing it right every morning!

    Happy Tuesday to you. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Courtney! Awesome!! Yes, sounds like those workouts are good ones, I especially liked the one I tried. Keep up the awesome work in your new sneakers too! πŸ™‚

  5. I’ll warm up depending on what exercise I’m doing. I hate running to warm up, it brings me back to playing soccer in college and warm ups were the worst. I’ve started to become more adamant about stretching after working out because as I’ve gotten older my body doesn’t bounce back as quickly as it used to back in the day.

    1. Hi Pinky! Yup, I like to do my static stretching after a workout, but my moving stretching before a workout. While running does get the blood flowing, it only has you moving in one plane of motion, so I agree it’s not the best warm-up. And me too! I need to foam roller and be more careful with my body these days too! Happy Tuesday to you! πŸ™‚

  6. I always include a dynamic warmup before I run or teach a class. Love these moves, esp the front kicks…that always feels good on the hamstrings!

    1. Hi Marielle, So glad you do dynamic warm-ups. But that first front kick of the day … wow, it’s tough. Feels good to be loose after you’ve done them though! πŸ™‚ Have a fabulous Tuesday!

  7. Great moves! My lame warm up usually involves 5 minutes of mid-speed stair-mastering…. whoops! With only an hour to do everything, change, workout, rinse off in the shower/change, it’s tough to squeeze everything in!!

    1. Hi Jessie! Your lame warm-up is better than no warm-up at all hehehe. And I know it’s so hard to fit it all in when you have limited time. But maybe you do 3 minutes of stepping and a few more side kicks? hahah! Good work though! And hope you’re doing well! πŸ™‚

  8. This is a great ad for Puma because the whole time I was reading I was thinking how cute your outfit is! Love it! Lately I’ve definitely been paying more attention to stretching before and after my workouts. My favorites are leg swings and high knees/butt kicks. Really stretches things out!

    1. Hi Gretchen, Thanks! I know this PUMA outfit is unlike anything else I own, which makes me like it even more. And good work on paying attention to before and after stretching! It’s so good for you. Butt kicks are great moves too! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Ash! Loving this new gear! And yes, in freestyle classes there is more time to put in these good warm-ups for sure. Nice work! πŸ™‚ Happy Tuesday!

  9. That looks like a great warm up. I am bad at warming up but that looks simple enough to get the blood pumping.

    Love the Puma look, so cool.

    Nothing much planned for the week, not yet anyway.

    1. Hi Angie! Thanks for stopping by to say hello. And yes, these warm-up moves are very easy to execute and do wonders to get your body ready. Give ’em a try! Hope you have a lovely Tuesday! πŸ™‚

  10. I definitely need to be better about not just taking off for my run. Thanks for the stretch suggestions! Oh, and totally love the pants! Would never have guessed they were PUMA!

    1. Hi Liz! I know, it’s tempting to skip the warm-up, but if you give some of these moves a try you may feel a whole lot looser when you run! Happy Tuesday to you!

  11. I do a HIT class twice per week & we do a warm-up/movement prep sequence that all kind of flows together but still hits every muscle group. After sitting at a desk all day, it is definitely needed! I don’t think I could do the class without the warm-up. I always forget about Puma yet I love their gear! I just don’t really see it around the stores very much πŸ™ Love those shoes!

    1. Hi Megan! So glad that you see how important these warm-ups are before getting into your workout. Nice job fitting in a HIIT class twice a week. And yes, PUMA has some great stuff! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, lady!

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