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Dynamic Warm Up & Dynamic StretchingLeave a Reply

A dynamic warm up is essential for all athletes looking to improve their overall performance. A good dynamic warm can help improve a variety of psychological and physiological aspects. A dynamic warm up is used to prepare the athlete or athletes psychologically and physiologically for training or competition. A dynamic warm up is a transitional phase that allows the body to adjust to the physiologic, biomechanical, and bioenergetics demands placed on it during the training, conditioning, or sports phase of an exercise session. (3) A dynamic warm up can be used to gain many training benefits such as; improved strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, coordination and the correction of major and minor muscle imbalances. (2) It can also be a time to focus on improving strength, power, speed and agility. (2)

The two main goals of performing a dynamic warm are to help improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injury bot short and long term. A dynamic warm up is also a good way to improve strength, flexibility, balance and coordination especially in young athletes. A dynamic warm up provides a combination of strength and flexibility compared to ordinary static stretching before training or competition. Static stretching just lengthens the muscle compared to dynamic movements that cause muscles to lengthen and contract, which cause muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments to provide force; creating a greater functional ability in the extended ranges of motion. Static stretching requires no voluntary muscle activity while dynamic stretching does require voluntary muscle activity. (2) Movements should be done with quality over quantity focusing on form, full range of motion, posture, biomechanics, etc. Movement patterns should stimulate the training or competition an athlete is about to perform. A dynamic warm up should gradually increase the intensity and volume. A dynamic warm up should be specific to each individual, sport, position, training or competition exercise that is about to take place. A dynamic warm up should combine cardiovascular and muscular activity designed to increase body temperature and reduce DOMS. A dynamic warm up should be done before practice, workouts, competition, etc. A list of benefits of a dynamic warm up is shown below.

Purpose/Benefits of a proper dynamic warm up:

  • Practice of Motion (Running Biomechanics, Sport Specific)
  • Increased Muscle Temperature and Body Core Temperature
  • Increased in blood flow to active muscles (1)
  • Increased metabolic reactions that result in greater fuel utilization (1)
  • Improvement in muscle elasticity (reducing risk for strains and muscle pulls)
  • Reduction in muscle stiffness
  • Reduction in likelihood of injuries (short and long term)
  • Improvement in flexibility
  • Range of motion of muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments
  • Improvement in speed of muscle contraction in agonist and relaxation of antagonist
  • Muscles contract more forcefully and relax more rapidly
  • Improvement in the rate of force development and reaction time (1)
  • Improvement in muscle strength and power (1)
  • Improvement in dissociation of oxygen from hemoglobin an myoglobin via increase in temperature
  • Enhances the release of oxygen to working muscles enhancing endurance and performance.
  • Improvement in speed of nerve impulses and sensitivity of nerves
  • Better recruitment of motor units Type I, Type IIa, Type IIb, Type IIx
  • Improvement in Psychological/ Mental Preparation
  • Mentally prepares athletes for training or competition by; enhancing mood, increasing focus and concentration. Athletes can also review technique and strategy for training or competition.
  • Reduction in muscle viscosity increasing a greater economy of movement and ROM
  • Reduction in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
  • Reduction in muscle stiffness

Why not to do pre exercise static stretching:

Can decrease performance in:

  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Power

A sample dynamic warm-up for football players:

  1. 2 minute jog
  2. Forward Lunge w/Arm Action x 2 10 yards
  3. Backward Lunge x 2 10 yards
  4. Side Lunge x 2 10 yards
  5. 45O Lunge x 2 10 yards
  6. High Knee x 2 10 yards
  7. Butt Kick x 2 10 yards
  8. High Knee Pull x 2 20 yards
  9. A Skip x 2 20 yards
  10. B Skip x 2 20 yards
  11. Shuffle x 2 20 yards
  12. Carioca x 2 20 yards
  13. 50 % sprint x 2 40 yards
  14. Hip Flex/ Ham Combo Lunge x 2 10 yards
  15. Long Stride Back Pedal x 2 40 yards

A dynamic warm up should consist of:

  • Gradually increasing the intensity and volume
  • Sport specific movements
  • 10 to 15 minutes depending on skill level or feeling
  • At least 2-5 minutes of cardio because it is dynamic and works large muscle groups
  • Jump Rope, Jogging, Bike, Line Hops
  • Quality over quantity


(1) Baechle, R. Thomas. Earle, W. Roger. National Strength and Conditioning Association. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 3rd Edition. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics; (June 2, 2008)
(2) Kovacs, Mark. Dynamic Stretching: The Revolutionary Warm-Up Method to Improve Power, Performance and Range of Motion. 1st Edition. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press, (December 29, 2009)
(3) American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 8th edition. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; (February 5, 2009)

Written by John Toston

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