3 Dynamic warm ups you should be doing

by Ryan Wagner

Is your warm up still just a walk on the treadmill? It’s time to warm up your body the way it was mean to – with movement that mimics your work out. Ditch the tread and start incorporating these 3 dynamic warm ups into your routine today.

Wall Slides

Sit at a desk all day? Odds are you do. Most likely you spend too much time with your shoulders hunched over. Eventually, your body will make up its mind that staying in that position is just plain easier than resting where they should be, which is right in line with your ears. To help fight your body’s tendency to do this, you’ll need to ‘open the chest up’ as often as possible. There are many movements that aim to achieve this in a warm up, but one that specifically focuses on returning mobility to the shoulder girdle is the wall slide.

From standing, with your back to the wall and feet hip width apart, positioning your heels about six inches from the wall. Now, lean back so that your head, shoulders, and rear are making contact. Maintaining your back’s natural arch, extend your arms overhead and out at about a 45 deg angle and maintain contact with the wall.

This is the starting position. Now, bending at the elbow, slide your arms downward toward your body, aiming for your elbow to poke into your sides. Be careful not to compensate by arching your back. You may not get there at first, but it’ll come. ¬†Ideally, this movement can be accomplished without the arch of your back moving an inch. If you can handle this, then front squats will be a breeze. Internal and external shoulder rotation is as important as having open hips. Wall slides are one piece of the puzzle to help you regain the mobility you need to safely overhead press.

Dirty Dog

Don’t let the name fool you. And certainly don’t let the ‘that seems way too girly for me’ mentality to take hold. This movement will help keep your hips open and encourage equality on each side. Although I’ve seen this warm up in a handful of sources over the years, it was the venerable Todd Durkin that really convinced me this movement was key to keeping your hips healthy. Yes, you may feel as though you are in a bootcamp with a bunch of women doing ‘girl’ exercises (as if there are really exercises only for women), but give this a legitimate try for 6 weeks and then see if you can tell me that you don’t feel more open in the hips.

Starting from all fours on your hands and knees, keep your head/neck/spine in a natural alignment and shift your weight to one knee so that you can raise the opposite knee as far out to the side as you comfortably can. You’re basically hinging at the hip to lift your knee up and to the side. Be sure to maintain the 90 deg bend at your knee and ankle. Do this 10 times and switch sides. Does one side feel different than the other? Hmmmm. Few dynamic warm ups will identify disparities like the Dirty Dog. At this point, the namesake should be obvious!

All Fours

Remember all the fun things you used to do in gym class as a kid? Well, this warm up is straight out of the primary school phys-ed teacher’s play book. And for good reason. For years, I have always spent some portion of my warm up with walking on all fours. Yup, it’s as easy as that. Walk on your hands and feet. Forward, backward, sideways. Want to have a little fun with it? Try crossing your arms. Then cross your legs. Go slow. Go a little faster. lengthen the posterior chain and focus on the movement that’s taking place. You’ll feel great extension at the hip and your shoulders will be reminded of what they were meant to do for you.


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