Dynamic warm-up exercises use the full range of motion of a movement or exercise. This helps your muscles to prepare for the workout that’s coming. You should always warm up with dynamic movements as opposed to held stretches or stretches in a single plane, as in front to back only.
For instance, warming up on a treadmill uses only one plane of motion, because you can only move forward and back. Dynamic motions are most effective and should be in various planes for optimal mind and body priming. It helps you perform movements similar to those in your workout at a low level, focusing on major muscle groups.
Examples of dynamic warm-up exercises
Dynamic warm-ups should include different planes of movement, like walking, running, or skipping. The lateral plane, side to side movements, is important too. For instance:
- leaning over from side to side
- spinal rotation
- twisting movements
- knee raises
Dynamic warm-ups are not static. Your movement should be fluid, and positions should be flowing from movement to movement. Dynamic warm-ups are slow, controlled movements. It’s important to warm up the muscles that you will use during exercise.
If you’re focusing on your upper body that day, arm circles are great. You can also do overhead reaches and reaches that open up the chest. For the back, you can do cat and cow movements. You can also focus on your neck, shoulders, and back.
For the lower body, focus on your quadriceps, calves, hips, lower back, and hamstrings. Reverse alternating partial lunges, butt kicks, alternating hamstring curls are great because you stretch for a second, then switch it out to the side. You can also do hip rotations. Flowing movements like with yoga are also good examples of dynamic warm-ups.
Use caution in your dynamic warm-up exercise routine
Focusing on how your body’s feeling is an important element of both warming up and exercising. For instance, if you’re doing high-intensity interval training, and you’re really out of breath, you may experience some pain. The amount of discomfort you feel is your body’s signal to tell you whether to slow down.
At Fitness Coaching LLC, we use the Traffic Light system to determine how much to push yourself and how much discomfort you should endure in warm-ups and exercises. For instance, if you feel great, you can consider that as having a green traffic light, and you can keep exercising.
If your body is feeling mild discomfort, that’s a yellow light. Your body is usually telling you to slow down. You can tell this if your body or muscles feel warm but not hurt. This way you can avoid injury and be ready in a short while to do more exercising or complete the exercise you’ve started.
Actual pain is a red light. Here, your body is telling you to stop. It’s telling you that you are either creating an injury or about to get one. The amount of pain you’re willing to endure on this perceived exertion scale should be none at all. The old adage “no pain, no gain” is old, outdated, and ineffective. In essence, it’s not safe. There is no gain with pain, at all.
Also, if you have an injury or a chronic condition, you may need to adjust your dynamic warm-ups to avoid causing further harm.
Practicing dynamic warm-ups slowly helps you put your body into good ergonomic alignment. Contact us today for more information about dynamic warm-ups and exercises.