Dynamic Warm-Up Activities

This page contains a number of exercises that can be included in a dynamic warm-up and below the videos I've included links to peer-reviewed articles and recommended chapters that address the topic of warm-ups for health and performance.

Key Points

  • There is inconsistent evidence as to whether pre-exercise stretching is able to reduce injury (e.g. Shrier, 1999; Pope, 2002; Herbert et al, 2002; Hart et al, 2005; Thacker et al, 2004; Young et al, 2003)

  • Pre-exercise stretching could decrease a range of subsequent performance indicators such as force production, power, running speed, reaction time and strength/endurance (see Kay & Blazevich, 2012; Simic et al, 2013 for systematic reviews)

  • Prior exercise at the right intensity can increase performance in subsequent efforts (e.g. DeLorey et al, 2007)

  • There are a number of recommended warm-up strategies for optimal sports performance (e.g. McGowan et al, 2015)

  • For participants with health issues (e.g. coronary heart disease) there are additional reasons for taking a more progressive approach to commencing exercise or physical activity (e.g. Tofler & Muller, 2006)

Glute Bridge

One-Arm Quadruped Hip Circle


Slow Motion Mountain Climber

Seal Jack

Shoulder Y, T, W, L

Arm Crossover

Crab Bridge with Overhead Reach


T-Spine Rotation

More Examples

Further Reading: Books

Tumminello, N. (2016) Building Muscle and Performance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics [publisher link]

Tumminello, N. (2018). Your Workout PERFECTED. Human Kinetics.

Joyce, D., & Lewindon, D. (Eds.). (2014). High-Performance Training for Sports. Human Kinetics. (Ch 8 by Larson)

(These two books contain some of the best examples of Warm-Up routines that I've seen published. There are several sequences in both books arranged into in-place and large space routines and making use of different equipment such as weight plates, kettlebells or just using body weight)

Further Reading: Journal Articles

Altavilla, G., & Gaetano, R. (2018). Physiological effects of warm-up and problems related to team sports. Sport Science, 11(1), 83-88.

Beardsley, C., & Škarabot, J. (2015). Effects of self-myofascial release: a systematic review. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 19(4), 747-758. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.08.007

Behm, D. G., & Chaouachi, A. (2011). A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance. European journal of applied physiology, 111(11), 2633-2651. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-011-1879-2

Behm, D. G., Blazevich, A. J., Kay, A. D., & McHugh, M. (2015). Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, 41(1), 1-11.

Bishop, D. (2003) Warm Up II: Performance Changes Following Active Warm Up and How to Structure the Warm Up Sports Medicine, Volume 33, Number 7, 483-498(16) [abstract]

Bishop, D. (2003) Warm Up I: Potential Mechanisms and the Effects of Passive Warm Up on Exercise Performance Sports Medicine, Volume 33, Number 6, 439-454(16) [full text]

Boullosa, D., Del Rosso, S., Behm, D. G., & Foster, C. (2018). Post-activation potentiation (PAP) in endurance sports: a review. European journal of sport science, 18(5), 595-610. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2018.1438519

Chaouachi, A., Castagna, C., Chtara, M., Brughelli, M., Turki, O., Galy, O., ... & Behm, D. G. (2010). Effect of warm-ups involving static or dynamic stretching on agility, sprinting, and jumping performance in trained individuals. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(8), 2001-2011.[full text]

Chen, C. H., Nosaka, K., Chen, H. L., Lin, M. J., Tseng, K. W., & Chen, T. C. (2011). Effects of flexibility training on eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(3), 491-500.

Christensen, B., Bond, C. W., Napoli, R., Lopez, K., Miller, J., & Hackney, K. J. (2020). The Effect of Static Stretching, Mini-Band Warm-Ups, Medicine-Ball Warm-Ups, and a Light Jogging Warm-Up on Common Athletic Ability Tests. International journal of exercise science, 13(4), 298. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32148636

DeLorey, D. S., Kowalchuk, J. M., Heenan, A. P., Dumanoir, G. R., & Paterson, D. H. (2007). Prior exercise speeds pulmonary O2 uptake kinetics by increases in both local muscle O2 availability and O2 utilization. Journal of applied physiology, 103(3), 771-778. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01061.2006

Faigenbaum, A.V., McFarland, J.E., Schwerdtman, J.A., Kang, J. and Hoffman, J. (2006) Dynamic Warm-Up Protocols, With and Without a Weighted Vest, and Fitness Performance in High School Female J Athl Train. Vol. 41, No.4, 357–363 [full text]

Gabbett, T. J., Sheppard, J. M., Pritchard-Peschek, K. R., Leveritt, M. D., & Aldred, M. J. (2008). Influence of closed skill and open skill warm-ups on the performance of speed, change of direction speed, vertical jump, and reactive agility in team sport athletes. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research,22(5), 1413-1415.[full text]

Gremion, G. (2005). Is stretching for sports performance still useful? A review of the literature. Revue medicale suisse, 1(28), 1830-1834.

Haddad, M., Dridi, A., Chtara, M., Chaouachi, A., Wong, D. P., Behm, D., & Chamari, K. (2014). Static stretching can impair explosive performance for at least 24 hours. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(1), 140-146.

Hammami, A., Zois, J., Slimani, M., Russel, M., & Bouhlel, E. (2018). The efficacy and characteristics of warm-up and re-warm-up practices in soccer players: a systematic review. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 58(1-2), 135-149. https://doi.org/10.23736/s0022-4707.16.06806-7

Hart, L. (2005). Effect of stretching on sport injury risk: a review. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 15(2), 113. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.jsm.0000151869.98555.67

Herbert, R. D., & Gabriel, M. (2002). Effects of stretching before and after exercising on muscle soreness and risk of injury: systematic review. BMJ, 325(7362), 468. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7362.468

Herbert, R. D., de Noronha, M., & Kamper, S. J. (2011). Stretching to prevent or reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (7).

Judge, L. W., Craig, B., Bellar, D., & Wanless, E. (2012). Preactivity Stretching Research and Current Coaching Practices : Why the Disconnect ? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 34(5), 74–77.[abstract]

Jeffreys, I. (2017). RAMP warm-ups: more than simply short-term preparation. Prof Strength Cond, 44, 17-23. [full text]

Jeffreys, I. (2007). Warm up revisited–the ‘ramp’ method of optimising performance preparation. The UKSCA Journal, 6, 15-19.[full text]

Kallerud, H., & Gleeson, N. (2013). Effects of stretching on performances involving stretch-shortening cycles. Sports Medicine, 43(8), 733-750. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0053-x

Kay, A. D., & Blazevich, A. J. (2012). Effect of acute static stretch on maximal muscle performance: a systematic review. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(1), 154-164. [www]

Little, T., and Williams, A.G. (2006) Effects of differential stretching protocols during warm-ups on high-speed motor capacities in professional soccer players. J. Strength Cond. Res. 20(1):203–207 [full text]

McCrary, J. M., Ackermann, B. J., & Halaki, M. (2015). A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury. Br J Sports Med, 49(14), 935-942. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2014-094228

McGowan, C. J., Pyne, D. B., Thompson, K. G., & Rattray, B. (2015). Warm-up strategies for sport and exercise: mechanisms and applications. Sports Medicine, 45(11), 1523-1546. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0376-x

McMillian, D.J., Moore, J.H., Hatler, B.S., and Taylor, D.C. (2006) Dynamic vs. static-stretching warm up: The effect on power and agility performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 20(3):492–499[full text]

Mytinger, M., Nelson, R. K., & Zuhl, M. (2020). Exercise Prescription Guidelines for Cardiovascular Disease Patients in the Absence of a Baseline Stress Test. Journal of cardiovascular development and disease, 7(2), 15. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd7020015

Nuzzo, J. L. (2020). The case for retiring flexibility as a major component of physical fitness. Sports Medicine, 50(5), 853-870. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-019-01248-w

Parr, M., Price, P. D., & Cleather, D. J. (2017). Effect of a gluteal activation warm-up on explosive exercise performance. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 3(1), e000245. http://bmjopensem.bmj.com/content/3/1/e000245

Pope, R. P., Herbert, R. D., Kirwan, J. D., and Graham, B. J. (2000) A randomized trial of preexercise stretching for prevention of lower-limb injury. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 32(2), 271–277 https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200002000-00004

Rubini, E.C., Costa, A.L.L. and Gomes, P.S.C. (2007) The Effects of Stretching on Strength Performance Sports Med Vol.37, No.3, 213-224. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200737030-00003 [full text]

Schroeder, A. N., & Best, T. M. (2015). Is self myofascial release an effective preexercise and recovery strategy? A literature review. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 14(3), 200-208. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2015/05000/Is_Self_Myofascial_Release_an_Effective.16._2)

Shrier, I. (1999). Stretching before exercise does not reduce the risk of local muscle injury: a critical review of the clinical and basic science literature. Clinical journal of sport medicine: official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine, 9(4), 221-227. https://doi.org/10.1097/00042752-199910000-00007

Silva, L. M., Neiva, H. P., Marques, M. C., Izquierdo, M., & Marinho, D. A. (2018). Effects of warm-up, post-warm-up, and re-warm-up strategies on explosive efforts in team sports: A systematic review. Sports Medicine, 48(10), 2285-2299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0958-5

Simic, L., Sarabon, N., & Markovic, G. (2013). Does pre‐exercise static stretching inhibit maximal muscular performance? A meta‐analytical review. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 23(2), 131-148.

Tofler, G. H., & Muller, J. E. (2006). Triggering of acute cardiovascular disease and potential preventive strategies. Circulation, 114(17), 1863-1872. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.596189

Turner, A. P., Bellhouse, S., Kilduff, L. P., & Russell, M. (2015). Postactivation potentiation of sprint acceleration performance using plyometric exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(2), 343-350.

Thacker, S. B., Gilchrist, J., Stroup, D. F., & Kimsey Jr, C. D. (2004). The impact of stretching on sports injury risk: a systematic review of the literature. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 36(3), 371-378. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000117134.83018.f7

Witvrouw, E., Mahieu, N., Danneels, L., & McNair, P. (2004). Stretching and injury prevention. Sports medicine, 34(7), 443-449. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200434070-00003

Woods, K., Bishop, P. and Jones, E. (2007) Warm-Up and Stretching in the Prevention of Muscular Injury Sports Medicine, Vol.37, No. 12, pp. 1089-1099(11) [abstract]

Young, W. B., and Behm, D. G. (2003) Should static stretching be used during a warm-up for strength and power activities? Strength Cond. J. 24: 33–37 [full text]

Zois, J., Bishop, D. J., Ball, K., & Aughey, R. J. (2011). High-intensity warm-ups elicit superior performance to a current soccer warm-up routine. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 14(6), 522-528.[full text]