Developing a Warm-Up for Resistance Exercise: Dynamic Flexibility Exercises
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Developing a Warm-Up for Resistance Exercise: Dynamic Flexibility Exercises

Nicholas Ratamess Jr. Ph.D. | Sep 13, 2021
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Dynamic flexibility exercises can be used in many programmed warm-ups for exercise and athletic performance. They are particularly useful when incorporated into the specific warm-up for resistance exercise.

Although reduction of injury is not a scientifically established benefit of a warm-up, it is widely accepted that warming-up prior to exercise is vital for performance. The main goal of the warm-up is to improve muscle temperature, VO2, neuromuscular control and flexibility and minimize fatigue. When designing an effective warm-up, you can select from a variety of dynamic flexibility exercises, including:

  • Arm circles (front and back)
  • Neck rotations
  • Hip circles (standing or kneeling)
  • Overhead medicine ball lassos
  • Toe touches
  • Medicine ball front raises
  • Medicine ball figure eights
  • Arm cross-face circles
  • Quadruped
  • Crab kicks
  • Truck circles from a straddled position
  • Wrist “praying” flexion/extension
  • Ankle rolls
  • Torso rotations/ side bends/ bent-over T-rotations
  • 3-point thoracic rotation
  • Knee circles
  • Standing/walking knee hugs
  • Cross-body kicks
  • Side leg swings
  • Shoulder crossovers (horizontal adduction/abduction)
  • Straddled medicine ball rollouts/ circles
  • Lunge/ lateral lunge with or without rotation
  • Groiner/ groiner with rotational reach
  • Catcher-squat to hamstring stretch
  • Supine or standing hip medial/ lateral rotation
  • Fire hydrant
  • High-knee crossovers
  • Windshield wipers
  • Body weight squats
  • Mountain climbers
  • Glute bridge
  • Triceps extensions with medicine ball (with posterior reach)
  • Stability ball arm circles (from kneeling, flexed position)
  • Press-ups
  • Stability ball supine slides (into bridge)
  • Overhead claps
  • Diagonal reaches
  • Rockers (with knees/ hips flexed)
  • Woodchops

To learn more about programming effective exercise training programs, check out ACSM’s Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning, which contains 600+ pages of information on physiology and program development.

Nicholas Ratamess Jr. Ph.D., Department of Health Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey. Dr. Ratamess is the author of ACSM's Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning, Second Edition.