We’ve already established in another post that static stretching is not ideal as a warm-up.
Instead, performing a dynamic warm up routine will do an excellent job to prepare your body for intense physical exercise, and to reduce the risk of injuries.
Pre-workout dynamic stretching routine: Guidelines
Workouts per week:
Rest time between sets:
2, preferably 3 times per week after working out or on recovery days
Light jogging, jump squats, knee to chest, arm circles, lunges
Increased flexibility, pre-workout warm up
- Light jogging 1 × 120 s
- Jump squats 1×30 s
- Knee to chest 1×30 s
- Arm circles 1x 30 s
- Jump lunges 1 × 30 s
→ Perform this dynamic warm up routine 1 time in chronological order. Rest time between exercises is 30 seconds. If you want a more thorough warm up due to age or previous injuries, then repeat this cycle 2 times.
Two minutes of light jogging
- Jog at a very slow pace for two minutes to get your body going and warmed up. The Explanation on how to run is the following: Run, Forrest, run!
- Stand with your feet at shoulder width while keeping your hands crossed in front of your chest.
- Squat down at or, if possible, below parallel by bending both your knees.
- Stand back up again and jump off the ground.
- Land on the ground and repeat for as much reps as necessary.
⇾ If jump squats are too challenging to perform, consider performing normal squats. Normal squats without jumping require less coordination.
Knee to chest
- Lift your right foot and bring your right knee towards the chest. (Kinda like performing a knee strike in martial arts.)
- Lower your right leg in a controlled manner and put your right foot back on the ground.
⇾ If you want to make this exercise harder, you can perform the knee to chest exercise while walking or jogging. The easier version of this exercise is performing it stationary.
- Extend both of your arms to the side of your waist at shoulder height.
- Make circles with both arms. Start making small forward circles and gradually build up to the biggest circles you can perform.
- Repeat the same cycle but perform the circles the other way around now. This means making circles in the opposite direction.
- Start by placing both feet next to each other.
- Lift your left foot up and place it down in front of you.
- Proceed to perform a controlled bend in your left knee as far as you can and return to the starting position.
- Do the same with the right leg. Alternate between your left and right leg.
⇾ Make sure to keep your entire front foot on the ground when you’re bending your front knee. This will help with balancing and reducing the stress placed on your knee joints. If this exercise is too easy for you, then n you can make it harder by performing jump lunges.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What is dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretching can be defined as a movement of the joints and muscles through their full range of motion. This means you are going through a motion or movement, and this motion is what we call the stretching part.
These dynamic stretching exercises are often repeated numerous times to get the blood flowing through the entire body and to make sure the muscles are loose. Dynamic stretching is typically used as a warm-up routine before commencing sport activities.
The movements that are used as warm up are frequently in alignment with the movements that the sport or physical activity requires. Since mimicking the movements of the sports you are about to practice makes sure the muscles you are about to use for your sport are warmed up properly.
Advantages of dynamic stretching
Excellent warm up
Active stretching is ideal as a warm-up because you exert quite a bit of physical activity, your blood flow will increase.
This increased physical activity will in turn increase your body temperature, which will warm up your body. This way, your body is ready to perform at a high intensity level.
Your muscles will loosen up over time if you stretch to your limits.
This leads to an increased range of motion in the joints, tendons, and muscles.
Your joints and muscles will be looser. This means our muscles can contract more easily in their full range of motion.
This lends itself to sports, where we need to deliver maximum force as fast as possible. Examples of sports where such explosive power is important are soccer and Olympic weightlifting.
Sport specific warm up
Performing dynamic stretching exercises is a great way of warming up and preparing the body for the intense physical activity that is about to follow.
The reason is that sports are basically a sequence of dynamic motions, which means that a sport specific warm up can aid you to prevent injuries.
This way, it’s possible to drill and mimic the motions that are needed when we perform that particular sport.
We can use our pre-workout routine as a way to practice our motor skills because these movements are sport specific.
Active stretching exercises are best performed right before engaging in physical activity because it is an excellent way to warp up your body for explosive movements.
You can perform sport specific stretching exercises for the additional benefits of practicing the movements in advance.
Like the ‘knee to chest’ exercise can be sport specific if you are going to perform knee strikes when practicing martial arts. This way, your dynamic warm-ups assure that the muscles you are about to use for your specific sport are warmed up properly.
Literature has shown that dynamic stretching is not the most effective stretching form for increasing muscle mobility. If increased flexibility is your main goal, then I recommend performing a static stretching routine after your workout or on recovery days.