10 Best Warm-Up Exercises

You always need a good warm-up before any physical activity. Warming up helps your body adjust to the sudden strain it will undergo, making it perform effectively. If you're looking to join a gym or engage in any sport, you'll need warm-up exercises to get you going. Keep reading to know the 10 best warm-up exercises to get that blood pumping!

10 Best Warm-Up Exercises

  1. Squats
  2. Standard Planks
  3. Push-Ups
  4. Arm Circles
  5. Side Lunges
  6. Wall Angels
  7. Jump Rope
  8. Overhead Arm Stretch
  9. Jumping Jacks
  10. Butt Kicks

1. Squats

Squats are one of those exercises that are versatile, and that’s why it’s one of the best warm-up exercises. This exercise targets nearly all areas of the lower body including your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

A good squat session burns calories that helps in reducing weight. Also, squats strengthen your ankles and knees, reducing the chances of ankle and knee injuries. While doing this exercise, you can go halfway through the first 4 reps (a rep is an abbreviation for ‘repetitions’; in the case of a squat, one rep would be the time when you go down and come back up). After you’ve got the hang of a half squat, you can do a full squat. Here are the steps to perform this exercise:

  1. While standing, see that your feet are hip-width apart. Also, see that your toes are facing out to the side.
  2. See that your back is straight and slowly lower your hips. Your thighs need to be parallel to the ground when you squat.
  3.  Using your heels, straighten out your legs and return to original position.

2. Standard Planks

Planks are easy but effective in strengthening your core and back muscles. This improves posture and overall balance of a person so if you’re warming up for a sport like tennis, this exercise is ideal for you. Also, variations of the plank such as the side plank help in achieving maximum flexibility too.

The exercise might look easy on the outside but doing it is a whole different story altogether. You’re using different kinds of muscles from your shoulders, lower back, and hips, to your legs and abdomen to support your form.

Since this exercise is so intensive, do one plank a day and slowly increase it to three to seven to see faster results. Read on to find out how you can do a standard plank:

  1. Get into a plank position. See that your back is straight and your hands are under your shoulders as if you were doing a push-up.
  2. Keep your toes firmly on the ground. Don’t lock your knees and see your back doesn’t curve.
  3. Hold this position for at least 30 secs. You can do it for a minute if you want an added challenge.

3. Push-Ups

If you’re warming up to lift weights or participate in an athletic event, the classic push-up is one of the best warm-up exercises to do. This type of exercise holistically develops the muscles in your upper arms, chest, legs, and abdomen. The benefits of push-ups extend to the fact that they can be performed anywhere and by anyone–regardless of their level of physical fitness.

This is how you do a normal push-up:

  1. Get in a plank position, face downwards, and your body straight. Place your palms flat on the ground, and make sure your arms are in line with your shoulders.
  2. Gently lower your body to the floor. In the process, see that your back doesn’t dip.
  3. Go lower to the extent where your chin almost touches the floor.
  4. Slowly raise your body from the floor and get back to plank position. You can bend your elbows a bit so that there’s no hyperextension.

4. Arm Circles

It’s important to ensure that your joints are not stiff before doing any physical activity to prevent injury. Arm circles are easy and a great way to loosen up stiff shoulders and joints, making it one of the best warm-up exercises. The arm rotation helps in developing arm muscles too.

You may be reminded of your school days because this is the most commonly performed exercise in every institution over the years. Here is how you can do an arm circle:

  1. Stand straight with your arms by your side.
  2. Swing your arms slowly in a forward circular motion. After a few revolutions, you’ll feel your shoulders loosening up a bit.
  3. Do this for around 7 reps. Change the circular motion to the other direction afterward.

5. Side Lunges

Side lunges target the leg muscles, glutes, and hips. This type of exercise enables multiple groups of muscles in the lower back to work simultaneously, helping in muscle strength and avoiding injury. When you lunge, your balance gets better and your mobility increases too.

If you’re new to side lunges, you can start the exercise by going only halfway, and once you’ve got the hang of it, you can do a full lunge. These are the steps to do a side lunge:

  1. While standing, ensure that your feet are width-apart.
  2. Slowly bend your left knee outward as you move to the side, and let your right foot be firm on the ground, toes facing out.
  3. Get back into starting position by pushing off your left foot.
  4. Repeat the same exercise with the right leg.

6. Wall Angels

If you’re looking for a good warm-up exercise for your spine, upper back muscles, and joints, then perform a set of wall angels. The main reason why it’s one of the best warm-up exercises is because of the stretching motion that helps in loosening tight neck muscles. This helps you to not fall prey to back muscle catches and other shoulder sprains. This is how you do this exercise:

  1. Rest against a wall shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet about 6-12 inches from the wall and slightly bend your knees.
  2. Raise your hands until they touch your ears. See that your shoulders and arms are spread against the wall too.
  3. Slide your arms up the wall as if you’re making a snow angel. Make sure that your arms are in contact with the wall.
  4. Repeat to original position. Do this exercise at least 11 times.

7. Jump Rope

Jumping rope is one of the best warm-up exercises to keep your muscles loose and ready for a workout. Since you're constantly jumping, your bones are getting stressed in a healthy way when your feet push off of the ground. This action makes your bones denser and stronger. Additionally, your coordination will also improve since you have to time the rhythm of the jumps with your hands, feet, and torso.

Here’s how you can perform this simple exercise:

  1. Hold the rope with its ends at the hip level.
  2. Use your wrists to swing the rope and jump rhythmically.
  3. You can start jumping with both legs. Try alternating between feet for an added challenge.
  4. Do this exercise for 5 minutes.

8. Overhead Arm Stretch

When it comes to increasing flexibility, a simple arm stretch will improve your arm and shoulder flexibility. This warm-up exercise is extremely important for those who do overhead exercises such as weightlifting since it alleviates any stiffness in the shoulders.

Here is how you can perform an arm stretch:

  1. Raise your hand overhead, bend your elbow, and place the palm in between your shoulder blades.
  2. With your other hand, lightly pull the elbow of the raised hand behind your head. Stop pulling if you feel any form of excessive strain in your shoulder.

9. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a great warm-up exercise to tone up your muscles and get you ready for your workout. Similar to jumping rope, there is stress produced in your feet, helping to develop bone mass and density.

Although this exercise helps overall muscle development of the body, jumping jacks mainly develop the muscles of the lower body. Your hamstrings, calves, and hips get thoroughly exercised, in turn improving leg strength.

Here are the steps to perform a jumping jack:

  1. Stand straight with your legs together and your arms at the side.
  2. Slightly bend your knees and jump.
  3. When you jump, see that your legs are shoulder-width apart and your arms are over your head.
  4. Return to starting position and repeat the exercise.

10. Butt Kicks

If you're gearing up to run 15 km across the countryside, then you need to warm up well. For that, you can count on butt kicks to give you the flexibility, endurance, and strength you need. This exercise improves your hamstrings and glutes. When these muscles are strengthened, you'll be able to get a better grip on the ground, helping you to run faster than before. In addition to running, butt kicks help in reducing weight and can be used as a separate exercise for that benefit.

This is how you perform a butt kick:

  1. Stand firmly. Your feet should be a hip distance apart and look straight into the distance.
  2. While standing on your left leg, bend your right knee and let your right heel touch your buttocks.
  3. As your right leg releases from that position and hits the ground, bring your left heel to your buttocks.
  4. Keep alternating your legs while you move forward.

Summing Up

These are some of the best warm-up exercises for you to try out. Before any workout or doing any sport, always remember to warm up thoroughly. A good warm up will help to evade unnecessary injuries and keep your body flexible for any situation. Just be sure also that you're not straining yourself too much on warm-up exercises to the extent that you're too tired to start your workout or sport.


What Is The Best Warm-Up Before A Workout?

There are many different warm-up exercises you can do before a workout. Some of them are side lunges, push-ups, and overhead stretches.

How Long Should You Warm Up?

The length of warm ups depends on how intense the activity is. The more physically demanding the activity is, the longer your workout will be. But typically, warm-ups are done for 5-10 minutes before any workout.

What Happens If You Don't Warm Up?

When you don't warm up, your muscles don't receive the flexibility it deserves to perform physical activity. This makes you prone to sprained muscles, cramps, and a whole list of other injuries.