How to Warm Up Before a Workout

It’s important to warm up before a workout to prevent injury and get the most out of your exercise. Here are some tips on how to warm up safely and effectively.

Pre-Workout Warm-up

A pre-workout warm-up is a great way to prepare your body for exercise. Warming up increases your blood flow and helps your body become more pliable. This helps your muscles and joints move more freely, reducing the risk of injury during your workout. Additionally, it can help you get a better quality workout by helping you increase your range of motion and get into the right mindset for a good workout. Let’s take a look at the different components of a proper warm-up before we start our workout.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is a form of warm up that prepares your body for the upcoming activity by utilizing movement-based stretching with light intensity. It has been proven to improve performance and decrease the risk of injury. The aim is to loosen muscles, joints and ligaments by preparing them for the upcoming session.

Dynamic stretching should be completed within 5-10 minutes and consist of stretches that bring your body closer to what you are about to do during your workout. Examples include walking lunges, reverse leg swings, upward arm swings, torso twists and leg rockers.

By gradually increasing range of motion and mobility through dynamic stretching, athletes can maximize performance by readying their bodies for the activity ahead while minimizing risk of injury. It is also an effective way to improve coordination as it helps your muscles work together efficiently when faced with strenuous or repetitive movements associated with physical exercise.


Cardio exercises provide an excellent warm-up for any type of workout, helping to elevate the heart rate, improve circulation, and prime the muscles for further exercise. A good cardio warm-up should last at least 5-10 minutes and can include activities such as:

-Jumping jacks or jumping rope
The idea is to move the body without straining it. Aim for a pace that is vigorous but comfortable – you don’t want to start your main workout exhausted! As you progress in your cardio work out, increase the intensity level. Begin with a brisk walk, then add in some jogging or running with short sprints interspersed throughout. If possible, aim to get your heart rate up to around 70 percent of its maximum before transitioning into your next activity.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is an effective way to increase circulation and range of motion in your body before a workout. Rolling out can also help to release knots or trigger points which can be caused by tight muscles. Spend 5-10 minutes on your foam roller before you start lifting weights or engaging in other forms of physical activity.

Foam rolling should be done slowly and deliberately, spending around 30 seconds on each muscle group. Aiming to roll over each muscle group twice while applying enough pressure to feel the muscle relax below the roller, but not so much that it is painful. Begin with larger muscle groups like your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats and calves. Work up towards more isolated movements such as hips adductors, neck rotations and exercises for small muscles like rotator cuffs in the shoulders or IT bands along the side of the hip/thigh area.

After you have spend time rolling out take a few moments to stretch slowly and gently – focusing on stretching key areas such as calves, hamstrings and glutes first as these are very important in ensuring proper posture during compound lifts (squats, deadlifts etc). Make sure that you are taking breaths throughout each stretch – releasing tension as you exhale for better results. Aim for 3-5 breaths per stretch with a hold time of 15 seconds each – making sure that you push slightly further into each stretch following any relaxation from the previous breath cycle until you reach a point of mild discomfort only (not pain).

Core Exercises

Core exercises are a great way to prepare your body for a workout. Doing core exercises helps to strengthen the muscles in your midsection that are used in any physical activity. Core exercises target both your front and back muscles as well as your obliques. Core exercises can also increase stability and balance, which can help to improve your overall performance when exercising. Let’s take a look at some of the best core exercises to help you warm up before a workout.


The plank is a foundational core exercise that strengthens the abdominals and increases balance and stability. It is an excellent warm-up exercise to add to any physical activity routine. To perform a plank correctly, begin on your hands and knees, with your upper arms extended away from your body. Keep your back straight, your head up, and engage your abdominal core muscle as you slowly lower down to a forearm push-up position. Hold for 30–45 seconds, making sure to keep your abdomen drawn in and hips level. To increase difficulty, you can hold the Plank even longer or perform ankle taps by alternating lifting one heel off the ground then the other. This engaging exercise can help build strength through the entire core while also improving posture.

Bird Dog

The Bird Dog is a simple but effective core exercise that strengthens your abdominals, lower back, and buttocks. It targets the muscles in the upper and lower trunk that are essential for stability and balance. This exercise helps to increase mobility and will give you better performance in a variety of activities.

The Bird Dog can be performed by lying on the floor with your belly facing down. Place your hands on the floor just behind your shoulders and extend both of your legs out straight behind you. While keeping your arms straight, reach one hand forward while simultaneously reaching the other foot backwards toward the floor as far as possible while arching your back slightly so it is almost parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then switch sides so you’re reaching forward with the opposite hand and pulling backward with the opposite leg. Perform 10-15 repetitions total. This exercise will help to stabilize your spine during any movement activity or athletic event you take part in.

Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are a great exercise for warming up and activating your glutes, hamstrings, and core before beginning any workout. To perform the move, lie on your back with your arms at your sides, bent knees, and feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Keeping your neck relaxed, push through your heels to raise your hips off the floor until they are in line with your shoulders and knees. Hold for a few seconds before slowly lowering back down; repeat 8–12 times or as many as you need to feel that burn in the glutes. Remember to keep breathing throughout the move!

Upper Body Exercises

Warming up before a workout can help you gain strength, prevent injuries, boost your performance, and reduce soreness. Upper body exercises are a great way to get your body ready for a workout. This section will discuss the types of exercises that can help you warm up your arms, shoulders, back, and chest. By incorporating these exercises into your pre-workout routine, you can help your upper body muscles prepare for your workout.


Push-ups are a great way to warm-up your upper body before a workout and are an excellent exercise for strengthening the chest, triceps and core muscles. To do a push-up, start in a plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the ground, making sure that you keep your body in one straight line as you do this. Push back up until you arms are straight. Repeat this movement for 10-15 reps 3 times or until you feel sufficiently warmed up.

Remember to keep good form throughout the exercise by maintaining regularly engaged abdominal muscles, engaging the glutes and squeezing the shoulder blades together while lowering the chest. For added challenge, try clapping push ups – complete one push up after another at a rapid pace and clap once between each repetition.

Shoulder Taps

Shoulder taps are an excellent warm-up to prepare you for workouts involving the upper body. This exercise targets the chest, shoulders, and core by increasing range of motion and flexibility.

To get started, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands together at chest level in front of you. Raise one arm up slightly, bringing it across your body until the elbow touches the opposite shoulder. Pause for a moment before switching sides and repeating the same steps on the other side.

This exercise should be done with slow and steady movements to ensure that you’re targeting all of your muscles correctly. You can quickly increase reps as soon as your shoulders feel warm and loose! Additional variations like adding a squat or modified pushup may be included for added difficulty.

Shoulder taps can be used as part of a warm-up routine or integrated into a workout routine throughout an entire session for continuous strengthening of your core, shoulders, chest, arms, and even legs!

Arm Circles

Arm Circles is an effective way to warm up your upper body before engaging in a more intense workout. This exercise helps to prepare the shoulder joints and muscles for physical activity, and can also be used as an easy stretching exercise. To perform Arm Circles, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended out from your sides. Rotate the arms in circular motions making sure to keep them straight. Start by performing small circles for about 15 seconds, then gradually increase the size of the circle. Move clockwise for around 15-20 seconds, then repeat moving counterclockwise for 15-20 seconds. For best results, maintain good posture with the knees slightly bent throughout the entire exercise.

Lower Body Exercises

To help get your body ready for a workout, it’s important to do a proper warm up. Lower body exercises are a great way to warm up the muscles and joints used in most workouts. Doing a few dynamic stretches and simple movements can help loosen up your body, prepare you for your workout, and help reduce your chance of injuries. Let’s take a look at some of the best lower body exercises for your warm up.


Squats are a great way to warm up your body and best done before any lower body-focused exercise. They activate your core and glutes, help improve posture and alignment, increase mobility, and encourage the proper use of your leg muscles. To perform a squat properly, stand with your feet hip-width apart and point your toes outward slightly. Make sure to keep a tall spine by pushing your chest up while you engage your core muscles. Begin by sending your hips backwards as if you were sitting down into a chair, then lower yourself until both knees form right angles. When standing up again, press into the sides of both feet evenly. If necessary, hold onto something stable while performing the exercise to maintain balance. Aim for 3 sets of 8 reps with a short rest between each set to get started!


Lunges are an excellent lower body exercise that can be used to warm up your muscles before a workout. Lunges strengthen and stretch many of the muscles in your legs as well as help to improve balance, flexibility, and coordination. Begin by standing tall with your feet slightly less than hip-width apart. Step forward with one leg, keeping the toes of both feet pointed straight ahead and focusing your weight on the heel of your forward foot. Bend both knees at a 90 degree angle until the back knee touches or almost touches the floor. Push back off from that front heel to return to standing position, movement alternating between each leading leg. It is important to ensure you keep your hips even throughout this exercise, and maintain a straight line from head to toe throughout each lunge.

Calf Raises

Calf raises are a simple but highly effective exercise for brand new exercisers as well as experienced bodybuilders. They are a great way to warm up the legs before starting a workout and can also be used to increase strength and power. To do calf raises, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing straight ahead. Keeping your back straight and core tight, slowly raise up onto the balls of your feet while squeezing your calves at the top then lower yourself back down. Increase intensity by adding weight or increasing sets and repetitions. Calf raises can also be done using an elevated surface such as a stair step so that you can increase your range of motion. When done correctly, calf raises help strengthen leg muscles, increase balance and flexibility, improve posture and reduce the risk of ankle sprains.


Cooling down is just as important as warming up when it comes to preparing for a workout. Cooling down gives your body time to transition from an intense workout to a resting state. It helps your heart rate go back to a normal rate, your body temperature drops, and lactic acid is flushed out of your muscles, which reduces muscle stiffness. Cooling down also helps to improve your performance in future workouts. In this section, we will discuss the importance of cooling down and some tips on how to do it before your workout.

Static Stretching

Static stretching is the most traditional way to do a cool-down. After completing the workout, static stretches are performed while relaxing comfortably, holding each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. During static stretching, little to no movements take place in order to allow the body to adjust and relax.
This type of cool down should involve several types of stretches: calf stretches, shoulder and arm stretches, as well as hamstring and quadriceps stretches. It’s important during these stretches to move gently into each position and focus on smooth movements rather than jerky ones that might cause injury. Additionally, trying not to bounce in the position can help ensure proper alignment of joints so they don’t become misaligned and cause future injuries. Static stretching can be done both before and after a workout, whichever time fits better into your schedule.

Yoga Poses

Yoga poses can help you both prepare for and cool down after your workouts. Before a workout, it’s important to incorporate breathing exercises and dynamic movements that increase proper blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body. After a workout, gentle poses to target primary muscle groups should be used to gradually decrease heart rate and aid in recovery.

Preparing for a Workout with Yoga
Dynamic lunging poses such as Warrior I & II or low Lunge can help loosen tight leg muscles while strengthening the entire lower body. Cobra Pose or Locust Pose are great core warm ups that also engage the arms, chest, back and abdomen muscles. Twists are another beneficial warm up pose as they create mobilisation of the spine in all directions which can reduce injury risk during more challenging aerobic activities. Finally Cat/Cow Stretch is beneficial for mobilising the shoulders and neck which is extremely important during more vigorous exercise programmes.

Cooling Down with Yoga
To cool down after workouts it is recommended to give attention to specific muscle groups that have been most exerted during training using slower paced yoga postures or Yin-style yoga techniques which include components of passive stretching, allowing deeper relaxation into postures without generating heat within tissue layers as occurs in longer held Hatha style movements such as Flow Yoga practices. Reclined twists are great for loosening tight hips from running whilst Child’s Pose stretches out tired quads after cycling or squats. Supine Pigeon stretches release tension from back legs following plyometric exercises like jumping jacks, whilst Corpse Posture at the end of practice allows for complete physical repose before standing up once again

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, which is a fancy way of saying it helps release tightness in your muscles. Before exercise and stretching, foam rolling can help prepare your muscles by breaking up areas of tension in the body—helping you become more flexible, making movement feel easier and less painful. Rolling can be done prior to any workout and can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.

To foam roll, use an appropriately sized foam roller for the area you’re targeting and slowly roll up and down the length of a muscle, applying slight pressure as you go. You may find that certain areas are particularly tender; these are spots that need extra attention! When you come across these sticky points, hold steady pressure on them for at least 30 seconds before continuing to roll out the muscle.

When finished foam rolling, start with some dynamic stretches such as lunges or shoulder circles to ensure your muscles are warm before beginning exercise. This will further activate those newly released muscles ensuring you can complete your workout feeling energized and empowered.

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