Dynamic Stretches for Warming Up

To get started, simply choose a few stretches that target your major muscles. Then, after a month or so, switch to other exercises. This will keep you motivated and allow you to exercise muscles you may not be using with the ‘same old exercises’ you’ve always done.

Exercise List

tap an exercise name to see printable exercise instructions…

Joint Rotations Neck Mobility Shoulder Circles Arm Swings
Side Bends Hip Circles and Twists Chair Squat Leg Swings
Lunge Side-to-Side Lunge Ankle Bounce Trunk Rotations
Full Back Stretch Abdominal Stretch Hamstring Stretch
Groin Stretch Alternate Toe Touches Leg Swings (no wall)

Exercises

tap Print to the right of each exercise to print that exercise…


Joint Rotations


From a standing position with your arms hanging loosely at you sides, flex, extend, and rotate each of the following joints:

  • Fingers
  • Wrist
  • Elbows
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Trunk and shoulder Blades
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Feet and toes

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Neck Mobility


Instructions

  1. Flexion/Extension – Tuck your chin into your chest, and then lift your chin upward as far as possible. 6 to 10 repetitions
  2. Lateral Flexion – lower your left ear toward your left shoulder and then your right ear to your right shoulder. 6 to 10 repetitions
  3. Rotation – Turn your chin laterally toward your left shoulder and then rotate it toward your right shoulder 6 to 10 repetitions

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Shoulder Circles


Instructions

  1. Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
  2. Raise your right shoulder towards your right ear, take it backwards, down and then up again to the ear in a smooth action
  3. 6 to 10 repetitions
  4. Repeat with the other shoulder

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Arm Swings


Instructions

  1. Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Keep the back straight at all times.
  3. Overhead/Down and back – Swing both arms continuously to an overhead position and then forward, down, and backwards.
  4. Side/Front Crossover – Swing both arms out to your sides and then cross them in front of your chest.
  5. Repeat continuously for 30 seconds.

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Side Bends


Instructions

  1. Stand tall with good posture, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands resting on hips.
  2. Lift your torso up and away from your hips and bend smoothly first to one side, then the other.
  3. Keep your torso straight – don’t lean forwards or backwards.
  4. Hold for a count of 2 and repeat on the other side.
  5. Repeat 6 to 10 times with a slow rhythm.

Notes: Exhale as you bend to the side, and inhale as you return to the center.

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Hip Circles and Twists


Instructions

  1. Circles – With your hands on your hips and feet spread wider than your shoulders, make circles with your hips in a clockwise direction for 6 to 10 repetitions. Then repeat in a counter-clockwise direction.
  2. Twists – Extend your arms out to your sides, and twist your torso and hips to the left, shifting your weight on to the left foot. Then twist your torso to the right while shifting your weight to the right foot.
  3. Perform 6 to 10 reps on each side.

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Chair Squat

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Print

Squats have many variations with this being one of the easiest and a good way to build strength. Once you can do these easily, try the single leg squat.

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Keeping good posture with your chest up, stand up.
  3. Perform these slowly, taking 4 seconds to sit.
  4. Repeat 14 times.

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Leg Swings


Instructions

Flexion/Extension

  1. Stand with your right side next to a wall.
  2. Put your weight on your left leg with your right hand on the wall for balance.
  3. Swing your right leg forward and backward.
  4. 6 to 10 repetitions on each leg.

Cross-Body Flexion/Abduction

  1. Leaning slightly forward with both hands on a wall and your weight on your left leg, swing your right leg to the left in front of your body, pointing your toes upwards as your foot reaches its furthest point of motion.
  2. Swing your right leg back to the right as far as comfortable, again pointing your toes up as your foot reaches its final point of movement.
  3. 6 to 10 repetitions on each leg.

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Lunge


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Instructions

  1. Stand tall with both feet together (starting position).
  2. Keeping your back straight.
  3. Lunge forward with your right leg.
  4. The right thigh should be parallel with the ground and the right lower leg vertical.
  5. Spring back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat with the left leg.
  7. 6 to 10 repetitions on each leg.

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Side-to-Side Lunge


Instructions

  1. Stand with your feet twice your shoulder-width. This will give you room to  move from side to side. You can adjust the width as you progress.
  2. Place your hands together in front of your chest.
  3. Shift your weight to the right leg, push hips down and bend your right knee into a squat. Your right leg should stay perpendicular to the floor and your left leg should be straight with your left foot flat on the floor. You will look as if you are trying to sit with one leg while stretching the other away from your body.
  4. Shift your weight to the left leg, push hips down and bend knees into a squat. Your left leg should stay perpendicular to the floor and your right leg should be straight with your right foot flat on the floor.

Note: Do not bounce. If warming up, perform this slowly but do not hold in place.

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Ankle Bounce


Instructions

Double leg bounce

  1. Leaning forward with your hands on the wall and your weight on your toes, raise and lower both heels rapidly (bounce).
  2. Each time, lift your heels one to two inches from the ground while maintaining ground contact with the ball of your feet.
  3. 6 to 10 repetitions.

Single leg bounce

  1. Leaning forward with your hands on a wall and all your weight on your left foot, raise the right knee forward while pushing the left heel towards the ground.
  2. Then lower your right foot to the floor while raising the left heel one or two inches
  3. Repeat in a rapid, bouncy fashion.
  4. Perform 6 to 10 repetitions on each leg.

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Trunk Rotations


Instructions

  1. With your hands on your hips, stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. With knees slightly bent, turn from side to side keeping feet firmly on the floor.
  3. Complete a total of 15-20 full swings.

↑ Back to Exercise List ↑


Full Back Stretch


Instructions

  1. Lie on your back and bring both your knees to your chest with hands clasped under the back of your knees.
  2. Roll forward until your feet touch the floor and then immediately roll back until just before your head touches the floor.
  3. Continue until you complete 10-15 full rolls.

↑ Back to Exercise List ↑


Abdominal Stretch


Instructions

  1. Start by lying on your back on a stability ball holding a toning bar at your chest (the toning bar is optional).
  2. Push back with your feet and simultaneously push the bar over and behind your head.
  3. Your legs should be straight and your arms outstretched.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10-15 reps.

↑ Back to Exercise List ↑


Hamstring Stretch


Instructions

  1. Lie on your back with an exercise bands (or rolled up towel) around the bottom of one of your feet.
  2. Pull the band and raise your leg at the same time until a comfortable stretch is felt.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
  4. Repeat with other leg.

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Groin Stretch


Instructions

  1. Start by placing your right knee on top of a stability ball and maintain your balance. This is your starting position.
  2. Slowly spread your leg out to the side until you feel a stretch on the inside of your thigh.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 repetitions.
  4. Repeat with other leg.

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Alternate Toe Touches


Instructions

  1. Start by standing with your feet spread as far apart as comfortably possible.
  2. Extending your right arm, lean forward toward your left leg until a comfortable stretch is felt in your low back and hamstrings. If you can, touch your toes.
  3. Now switch and try to touch your right foot with your left hand.

Note: This motion should be continuous – alternately touching each foot (as close as possible) with the opposite hand.

Important: skip this stretch you are prone to low back pain or if it causes you any discomfort.

↑ Back to Exercise List ↑


Leg Swings (no wall)


Instructions

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Keeping your upper body perpendicular to the ground and swing one leg forward, then backward.
  3. Keep your upper body in place — do not swing your leg so hard that you cannot keep your upper body from moving.
  4. Repeat for 10 full swings and repeat on other leg.

Note:  You can also swing your leg across your body stretching the abductors and adductors.

↑ Back to Exercise List ↑

Sources: Brian Mac and Sports Fitness Advisor

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