To warm up or not to warm up is the question. The answer, though, should always be the same—warm-up! By preparing your body for the exercise or strength training ahead, you are giving your heart, muscles, and joints a quick little nudge to say, “Hey, things are about to get real.” But, not all warm-ups are created equal. See: the dynamic warm-up. What is it, and how can you add it to your routine today?
What is a Dynamic Warm-Up?
When it comes to getting your body ready for exercise, there are typically two different ways to warm up: static and dynamic. Static stretch warm-ups are what we used to do a lot in the 90s and before. It is when you stretch a muscle by holding it before your workout. Think about a person standing while holding their foot behind their back for a quad stretch, or holding their arm across their body for 30 or more seconds. Those are static stretches. In recent history, studies have been conducted to research the effectiveness of static stretching and, though there is still a lot of research to be done, it seems that dynamic warm-ups are much more effective.
A dynamic warm-up means you are in constant motion. In these exercises, you consider the overall workout you have planned for the day (Say, it’s leg day) and then dynamically stretching those areas (walk, lunges, leg lifts, etc.).
Why Add This To Your Routine?
Not only does adding an integrated warm-up to your routine get you mentally prepared for what is about to happen, but it also helps to improve your range of motion. According to one study that looked at dynamic, static, and no warm-up participants, the dynamic warm-up participants significantly improved quadriceps muscle strength, hamstring flexibility, and lower body blood flow. Research also shows that warming up your muscles gives you a lower chance for injury. So, warming up directly before your workout is key.
Examples of a Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises
Dynamic warm-ups can be anything, really. From a few classic movements, to getting your body ready by slowly going through the movements of the workout on the docket, dynamic warm ups are just as dynamic in the range of movements they allow for. Some of our favorite dynamic warm-ups include:
Marching in place
Marching in place with high-knees
Practicing low-impact step jacks
Getting your heart pumping with jumping jacks
Twisting it out with trunk rotations
Practicing forward and backward lunges
Jumping side to side for ski jumps
This is just a small list of what you can do. The most important thing to remember about your dynamic warm-up is that it is a warm-up. This is not meant to leave you out of breath or have you wanting to give up on the workout ahead. It is intended to get you prepared. So, take it easy, enjoy it. In these moments before your workout, it is an excellent time to be mindful of how your body feels. As you do jumping jacks, where are you feeling tight? Is your body aching anywhere? If it is, can you send some love to that area with your next movement?
If you would like to be guided through some dynamic warm-ups, stretches, or entire workouts, join us on our virtual fitness platform, iChuze Fitness. Here, our energetic Instructors and Coaches guide you through their favorite exercises while helping you understand form, function, and breathing techniques. There is something for everyone on this platform so try it out for free today. If you would like to try out some warm-ups on your own, join us at any of our locations. There is plenty of space for any of your workout needs. Whether you are looking for an open turf area, weights, cardio equipment, or even a movie theater to run in (yeah, that exists), we have you covered.