6 Full Body Dynamic Stretching Exercises to Warm-Up Your Body

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6 Full Body Dynamic Stretching Exercises | While static stretches are a great way to cool your body down and increase your flexibility after physical activity, dynamic stretches should be done prior to your workout. These stretches are specifically designed to be part of your warm-up -- they improve your speed, agility, and acceleration, increase muscle temperature, decrease muscle stiffness, and improve range of motion. Click for 6 moves to warm up your upper body, lower body, back, and core!

Pre-workout stretching is essential to warm your body up properly. However, it’s important to do the right type of stretching so you don’t increase your risk of injury. Dynamic stretching is key for optimal performance, elevating your heart rate, and getting your muscles ready for activity. It incorporates whole body movements and uses similar movement patterns to the activity you’re going to perform. Check out our favourite full body dynamic stretching exercises to warm up your body!

What Is Dynamic Stretching?

Dynamic stretching helps warm you up and protect your joints from injury before you workout. It consists of active movements where joints and muscles go through the whole range of motion. For example, leg swings, arm circles, and squats. They elevate your heart rate and warm your muscles in preparation for activity, which is key for injury prevention. Dynamic stretching is best used before any activity, from running to playing tennis, to HIIT workouts and dance. To incorporate dynamic exercises into your warmup, choose stretches that stimulate the activity you’re about to do.

As well as pre-workout, dynamic stretches are also beneficial to do throughout your work day. If you’re sitting at a computer all day, you lose the ability to move through the entire range of motion. Taking small breaks every few hours to perform dynamic stretches can help prevent this. It helps stimulate blood flow, activate your muscles, and promote muscular coordination.

What Are the Benefits of Dynamic Stretching?

  1. Improves sports/physical performance
  2. Activates your nervous system and muscles
  3. Increases the temperature of your muscles, helping them move to their full potential
  4. Improves joint movement and muscle flexibility
  5. Injury prevention
  6. Improves balance and control
  7. Increases flexibility
  8. Prepares your brain for movement
  9. Promotes blood flow

Dynamic vs. Static Stretching: What’s the Difference?

Dynamic stretching and static stretching are both beneficial, however they’re good for different reasons. Static stretching requires you to move your muscles as far as they can go and hold them in one position for a certain length of time. It’s a great way to cool your body down and increase your flexibility after physical activity. Static stretches should never be done before a workout or sport, only after. While the purpose of static stretching is to decrease muscle stiffness, when this occurs, it can temporarily decrease the power and force ability of the muscle. It can also decrease your body’s ability to act quickly.

Dynamic stretching should be done prior to your workout. This form of stretching improves your speed, agility, and acceleration. The movements help increase muscle temperature and decrease muscle stiffness, moving your muscles through a wider range of motion. Dynamic stretches involve continuous movement, which preps your body for activity. They should be used as part of your warm up routine before any sport, workout, or athletic event.

6 Full Body Dynamic Stretching Exercises to Warm-Up Your Body

1. Lunge with a Twist
Lunges strengthen the glutes and legs and improve the flexibility of the hips. Adding a twist forces you to engage your core and work your abs and obliques.

Stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right foot, lowering into a lunge position. Twist your upper body to the right from your midsection. Keep your core engaged, squeeze your glutes, and make sure not to rotate your knee. Bring your hands back to the centre slowly and controlled. Step your right foot back, returning to starting position and repeat on the other side.

2. Walking High Kicks
Walking high kicks improve hip mobility and increase flexibility in the glutes and hamstrings. It also increases lower body and core strength. It’s a great warmup before any activity.

Begin standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Maintain this posture as you kick one leg straight out in front of you while reaching for it with the opposite hand, touching the tip of your fingers to your toes. Return the leg to the ground and repeat on the other side. Your core should be engaged and the movement smooth and fast to get the heart pumping.

3. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks work your shoulders, inner and outer thighs, calves and glutes. You’ll also fire up your heart rate and neurological system, making it a great warmup for any type of movement.

Stand upright with your feet together and hands by your side. Start the exercise by simultaneously raising your hands above your head while jumping your feet out past your shoulders. Immediately reverse the movement back to starting position without pausing. Repeat.

4. Inchworm
The inchworm stretches your hamstrings while also warming up your core, shoulders, and chest. You get a core and oblique workout too.

Start standing at the back of your mat with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides. Slowly bend over and touch the floor with both hands. Keeping your legs as straight as possible and your core tight, walk your hands forward to a plank position. Pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to starting position. Repeat.

5. Squat to Heel Raise
This exercise is great for runners specifically as it loads the calf muscles in preparation for running. It also calls for you to get into full squat position, which requires 90 degrees of hip flexion. This is needed for running.

Begin standing with your feet wider than hip distance apart, with your toes turned out slightly. Engage your core and bend your knees into a squat, bringing your hands to prayer position. Drive through your heels to stand up, bringing your arms out to the sides. Press up onto your toes and lift your heels high. Lower back down with control and return to starting position. Repeat.

6. Lateral Lunge with Reach
This exercise is great for pre-workout mobilization. As you lean out to one side and push your hips back, you’re encouraging mobility from both your hips, lower back, and groin. The lateral lunge also opens up your mid back, lats, and obliques as you reach to the opposite side.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step to the side with your left leg, bending your left knee and pushing your hips back. Lower until your left knee is bent at 90 degrees. At the same time, with your right hand, reach down toward your left foot. Bring yourself back to centre and immediately repeat on the other side.

These dynamic stretches will warm your body up so you can perform your best, whether you’re at a workout class, playing tennis, or training for a half marathon.

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6 Full Body Dynamic Stretching Exercises | While static stretches are a great way to cool your body down and increase your flexibility after physical activity, dynamic stretches should be done prior to your workout. These stretches are specifically designed to be part of your warm-up -- they improve your speed, agility, and acceleration, increase muscle temperature, decrease muscle stiffness, and improve range of motion. Click for 6 moves to warm up your upper body, lower body, back, and core!

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