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Jump Start Your Workout with the Dynamic Warm-Up | BridgeAthletic

Posted by Dr. Emily Kraus on Dec 10, 2014 11:24:00 AM

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What is your typical warm-up routine? Or, perhaps a better question is, do you have a warm-up? So many of us are guilty of squeezing in a quick gym session and cutting the warm-up short or eliminating it altogether. Unfortunately, in training and competition, tightness and soreness is a hindrance and without a proper warm-up you could be wasting precious practice time.

A “one size fits all” approach should be avoided and each athlete should tailor the warm-up based on the respective sport. With that being said, the dynamic warm-up (for example, walking side lunges, heel kicks) has been gaining popularity in both the training world and it has the research to back it up:Sports Performance
  • Increase in performance measures after a dynamic warm-up compared to other warm-ups.1 Performance measures included vertical jump, long jump, 300-yd shuttle run and medicine-ball underhand throw for distance.
  • Improvement in balance, agility and movement time in dynamic stretching compared to static stretching.2
Injury Prevention:
  • No reduction in overall injury with static stretching.3,4
  • Improvement in eccentric quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility with dynamic warm-up, which may lead to reduced injury risk and improved performance immediately after the warm-up activities, whereas the static stretching did not have this effect.5

Additional Benefits of the Dynamic Warm-Up:6

  • Enhanced nerve conductivity (think faster reaction time)
  • Faster metabolism
  • Decreased resistance of muscles and joints (i.e., more mobility)
  • Increased blood flow to muscles
  • Elevation of baseline oxygen consumption
  • Increased preparedness to train or compete

With so many physiologic and performance benefits, why not incorporate the dynamic warm-up into your own workout? Check out the examples below!

A Dynamic Stretching Warm-Up Routine

The dynamic warm-up typically consists of dynamic stretching with controlled movement through the active range of motion, agility and plyometric activities plus specific motor pattern movements.5 Aim to warm up for 10-20 minutes with a 10-20 second break between segments. There is a considerable amount of variability depending on the sport and level of intensity. Check out this warm-up to try before your next workout.7


Additional Dynamic Movements:

  1. Side/Front Crossover: Athletes swing both arms out to their sides and then cross them in front of their chest, while moving forward.
  2. Walking Lunge with Rotation: Athletes take a big step forward and at the same time rotate their arms horizontally.
  3. Lateral Shuffle: Athletes move laterally without crossing feet
  4. Frankenstein Walks: Athletes walk with both hands extended in front of the body, palms down, then they kick with the extended leg towards hands.
  5. Heel-Ups: Athletes kick heels towards buttocks while moving forward.
  6. Inch Worms: Start in push-up position. Keeping legs extended athletes walk towards hands, and then they walk hands forward while keeping limbs extended (6 repetitions).
  7. Modified Shuttle Run: Athletes run to the opposite line at a moderate pace (50% maximum speed), bend to touch the line, and return back gradually accelerating (75%) and touch the starting line. After touching the starting line, they run to the opposite line accelerating to near maximum speed (90%), touch the line and return back to the starting line walking.



  1. Cervantes SJ, Snyder AR. The effectiveness of a dynamic warm-up in improving performance in college athletes. J Sport Rehabil. 2011 Nov;20(4):487-93
  2. Chatzopoulos D, Galazoulas C, Patikas D, Kotzamanidis C. Acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on balance, agility, reaction time and movement time. J Sports Sci Med. 2014 May;13(2):403-9
  3. Hart LE, Tarnopolsky M, Lotter A, Canham-Chervack M, Jones BH, Knapick JJ. Does Stretching Before Exercise Prevent Lower Limb Injury. Medical Science Sports Exerc 2000; 32: 271-277.
  4. Yeung SS, Yeung EW, Gillespie LD. Interventions for preventing lower limb soft-tissue running injuries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011(7):CD001256.
  5. Aguilar AJ, DiStefano LJ, Brown CN, Herman DC, Guskiewicz KM, Padua DA. A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):1130-41. 
  6. Bishop D. Warm up I: potential mechanisms and the effects of passive warm up onexercise performance. Sports Med. 2003;33(6):439-5.
  7. Faigenbaum AD, McFarland JE, Schwerdtman JA, Ratamess NA, Kang J, and Hoffman JR. Dynamic warm-up protocols, with and without a weighted vest, and fitness performance in high school female athletes. J Athl Train. Oct-Dec 2006;41(4):357-363.


Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only. Doctors cannot provide a diagnosis or individual treatment advice via e-mail or online. Please consult your physician about your specific health care concerns.



For additional content on the benefits of warming up, be sure to check out Nick Folker's Pre-Competition Warm-Up.




Topics: Performance Trends, Competition