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8 Dynamic Warm Up Exercises To Prepare You For Your Next Workout

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Doing a dynamic warm-up before you start lifting your first set is one of the best ways to prepare your body for your workout.

But, many recreational and even serious weightlifters are not sure what a dynamic warmup before weightlifting should entail. 

Are there specific warm-up stretches, warm up exercises, or dynamic stretches that you should do before resistance training?

In this article, we will briefly discuss the benefits of a dynamic warm-up routine before strength training and provide step-by-step instructions for some of the best dynamic warm up exercises to perform before lifting weights:

Let’s dive in! 

High knees one of our dynamic warm up exercises.

Benefits of a Dynamic Warm Up Before Working Out

Although we often hear about the importance of a thorough dynamic warm-up before cardio exercise like running, cycling, or even swimming, it’s equally important to do dynamic stretching and warm up exercises before strength training.

Studies have found that a warm up should be dynamic. Compared to static stretching, research suggests that warm up stretches that are dynamic prior to exercise helps better increase muscle strength and flexibility.

Additionally, studies show that dynamic stretching before a workout decreases muscle stiffness and improves range of motion during your workout.

Finally, recent evidence suggests that performing dynamic warm up stretches before working out can improve aspects of athletic performance in the workout.

8 Dynamic Warm Up Exercises To Prepare You For Your Next Workout

Here are some of the best dynamic warm up exercises for resistance training workouts or cardio sessions:

#1: Band X Crossover Lateral Walks

As much as it is important to include dynamic stretches and warm up exercises that get your body moving in the sagittal plane (forward and backward motion, such as for exercises that involve flexion and extension), it is also important to include dynamic stretches that involve moving in the lateral direction.

This will help warm up and activate your glutes and hips, particularly your hip abductors such as gluteus medius, which you want to “turn on” before strength training workouts that involve any sort of squat, split squat, or unilateral leg exercise.

The X crossover lateral walk is a resistance band dynamic warm-up exercise for your hips and glutes.

Here are the steps:

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, standing on a resistance band, crossing the band in front of your body so that the handle that comes from your left foot is held in your right hand and vice versa. The band should form a giant letter X in front of your body.
  2. Make sure that you are using good posture and keeping your chest up, core and glutes engaged, and shoulders back and down throughout this dynamic mobility exercise.
  3. Pull the ends of the band up to armpit height with your palms facing away from your body.
  4. Keep your toes pointed forward throughout the duration of this dynamic warm-up exercise and maintain tension on the band as you take steps to the right and then steps to the left, gradually increasing the distance that you reach out with your leg as your hips and glutes warm up.
  5. Take 10-20 steps per leg.

#2: Push-Up Walkouts

This is a fantastic dynamic warm up exercise for your entire upper body as well as your hamstrings and posterior chain muscles because you will stretch the backside of your body as well.

Beginners can start with just the hand walk out, while advanced athletes can include a push-up in this dynamic warm up exercise to further activate the muscles of the chest, shoulders, upper back, and arms before upper body workouts.

Make sure to keep your core engaged the entire time, and your feet should stay in the same spot on the floor.

Here are the steps for this dynamic exercise for warm ups:

  1. Stand upright with good posture.
  2. Hinge at your hips and drop your fingertips to the floor in front of your feet. Depending on your hamstring flexibility, you may need to allow a soft bend in your knees.
  3. Press your palms into the ground while keeping your toes and balls of the feet planted behind you.
  4. Walk your hands out in front of your body until you are in a push-up position with your hands stacked under your shoulders.
  5. Bend your elbows and drop your chest to complete a full push-up.
  6. After completing the push-up, walk your hands back toward your feet as you pike your hips up into the air. 
  7. Once you are at the point where only your fingertips are left on the floor, use your posterior chain muscles to raise your body back up to the standing position.
  8. Complete 10 rounds.

Related: 30 Motivational Gym Quotes To Supercharge Your Next Workout

#3: Lunge Matrix

The lunge matrix is one of the best dynamic warm up exercises for the entire lower body, and it will get your neuromuscular system firing.

Moreover, as you will be lunging in the sagittal and frontal plane, you will mobilize your hips and glutes for multi-directional movements.

Here are the steps:

  1. Stand upright with good posture and your hands on your hips.
  2. Take a giant step forward with one foot and bend both knees to drop down to a forward lunge.
  3. Use your glutes to press back up to standing.
  4. Then, step out to the side, doing a lateral lunge with the same leg.
  5. After pressing back up to the standing position, step the same leg backward and drop down into a reverse lunge.
  6. Complete 5 rounds with both legs.

#4: High Knees Skipping

Skipping with an exaggerated knee drive is a great exercise for dynamic warmups. 

Use your arms to help propel your knees up towards your chest, and as you start to warm up, explode off the balls of your feet to maximize your vertical height with each skipping stride.

Maintain this movement for 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.

#5: Hip Swings

Forward, backward, and lateral hip swings are good dynamic stretches to help warm up before leg workouts.

Here are the steps for this one of our dynamic warm up exercises:

  1. Keep your leg straight and swing one leg back and forth while you stand on the other leg. 
  2. Complete 10-15 swings and then swing the same leg side to side, crossing over towards the other side of your body and then out to the far side.
  3. Switch legs and repeat.

#6: Monster Walks

One of the best warm up exercises for the glutes and quads is the resistance band monster walk.

Here are the steps for this dynamic stretching move:

  1. Place a small loop resistance band around your ankles.
  2. Get into a good squat position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, core engaged, chest up, shoulders down, and knees bent to roughly 90 degrees. 
  3. Place your hands on your hips.
  4. Staying down in your squat position, step your right foot as far outwards and forwards as possible, reaching for 2:00 on a clock.
  5. Then, do the same with the left foot, aiming forward and to the left (towards 10:00).
  6. Keep tension on the band at all times and stay in your squat.
  7. Take 20-30 steps per leg.

#7: Arm Circles

A full-body dynamic warm up routine should also include upper-body dynamic stretches.

Arm circles help loosen your arms, shoulders, and upper back. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Stand upright with your arms out to the side like a giant letter “T.”
  2. Circle your arms forward, gradually increasing the range of motion and speed. 
  3. Complete 15 circles.
  4. Circle your arms backward. Again, progressively increase the range of motion and movement speed.
  5. Complete 15 circles.

#8: Windmills

The windmill is a dynamic stretch for the entire upper body, spine, and core. This can be helpful for strength training workouts, as well as exercises like running, swimming, rowing, and jump roping.

Try to keep your core tight and think about mobilizing your thoracic spine, shoulder girdle, hips, glutes, and hamstrings.

Here are the steps to perform this warm up exercise:

  1. Stand upright with good posture.
  2. Lift your right hand up straight overhead.
  3. In one fluid motion, sweep down with your right hand and torso, twisting your body and reaching down to the floor on the outside of your left foot (across your body).
  4. Come all the way back up, lifting the right hand back in the air.
  5. Repeat on the left side.
  6. Keep switching sides until you have done 10 reps per side.

Even if you are pressed for time, doing a handful of dynamic stretches to warm up before your workout can get your body ready and optimize your performance.

Once you have done a good dynamic workout and are ready to get to work, consider trying out our back workout with dumbbells.

Banded lateral walks.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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